By: Kimberly McKee, MS
Zika outbreaks are currently happening in many areas around the world, including parts of the United States. So far in 2016, 15 travel-associated Zika virus cases have been reported in Arkansas.
People are infected with Zika primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Once a person has contracted Zika, he/she can pass the virus through sexual contact. The CDC is still determining how long the virus can stay in an infected person’s genital fluids. A pregnant woman can pass the virus to her fetus during any trimester. The Zika virus can cause birth defects, including microcephaly, which causes a baby’s head to be smaller than average and can be indicative of abnormal brain development. Other problems that have been identified in fetuses and infants infected with Zika before birth include defects of the eye, hearing deficits and impaired growth.
Many people infected with Zika may have no symptoms or only mild ones. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes. Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. Symptoms can last for several days to a week. Once infected with Zika, a person is likely to be protected from future infections.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have developed guidelines for health care providers who care for pregnant women in the United States. In Arkansas, health care professionals from the UAMS ANGELS program, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) have joined forces to develop a quick reference guide that breaks down the CDC guidelines into simple algorithms and checklists. The quick reference guides along with posters that can be hung in waiting areas and exam rooms will be distributed to delivering hospitals, OB providers and ADH nurses across the state by the end of the year.
You can follow the ADH web site to stay current on the impact of the virus on Arkansas, travel warnings, precautions, number of reported cases, etc.
Click a web site link below for more information.