The Zika virus has been making headlines worldwide lately, with the World Health Organization calling the outbreak a "global health emergency" and the first locally-transmitted case of the virus being recorded in Dallas. Some facts about the virus:
- Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.
- People with Zika virus disease usually have a mild fever, skin rash (exanthema) and conjunctivitis. These symptoms normally last for two to seven days.
- The first word of local transmission of Zika virus in the Western Hemisphere occurred in Brazil during May 2015.
- There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available.
- One in five people infected with the Zika virus develop symptoms.
- The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.
- There is a possible association between mothers infected with Zika virus and microcephaly in their newborns. It is suspected that pregnant women who contract Zika virus are at risk of the fetal birth defect.
The OKC-County Health Department says Zika virus is a reportable disease in Oklahoma and a mosquito-borne viral disease and the organization is monitoring the situation, sending information to physicians and coordinating with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC has issued a Level 2 travel alert for people traveling to regions and countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing, including many areas in Central and South America. It is important to check the CDC’s website for the most up to date information.
It is recommended that pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to any area where transmission of the Zika virus is ongoing.
The OKC-County Health Department has provided this fact sheet for people seeking more information about the virus.