Fatal Fever

Sergio Cortes: Educate Yourself on Zika

There is currently an epidemic outbreak in Brazil of the virus known as zika reprted by National Public Radio. Symptoms are not severe and do not last more than a week, but the possibility exists of developing diseases such as Guillain-Barré syndrome and microcephaly. The greatest concern is over the chance of contracting the latter, especially in pregnant women. Treatment for the virus is only for symptoms right now, though work is being done on more effective drugs. For now, prevention is the safest course.

Zika was first identified in the 1940s on the continent of Africa, and eventually spread into Asia. The virus made its first appearance in Brazil last April, and since then there has been over 1400 cases across 300 cities. The virus has spread to nine Latin America countries so far, including Mexico and Columbia, inciting the World Health Organization to issue a warning about the disease and emphasize the importance of prevention. Dr. Sergio Cortes, former executive secretary of Rio de Janeiro and Latin American celebrity, also urges the general public to educate themselves about the dangers of and ways to prevent contracting zika.

Zika is spread primarily by mosquitoes, so Cortes advises to wear clothes that cover the most skin,hang mosquito nets, and use bug-repellent. Avoid areas of any standing water: stagnant or otherwise. Mosquitoes can breed in stagnant water, but they thrive in clean water; so eliminate any standing water indoors such as pots, bottles of water, even bottle-caps. The mosquitoes that carry zika can live up to a year waiting for contact with water, so it is best not to leave any lying around for them to lay their eggs in.

Symptoms of zika according to dino.com include: fever, muscle aches, and rash. As stated above, the symptoms are not severe and usually last three to seven days. Though the symptoms are not severe, Cortes advises patients to seek treatment, because of the complications from zika. As with micrcephaly, these complications can be quite severe and can be transmitted to the baby of a pregnant woman. Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is a neurological disease, is very serious as well. Cortes informs mothers-to-be to consult a doctor in the case of any change in health, especially during the time before the fourth month of pregnancy, and emphasizes the importance of prenatal care.

The epidemic is widespread in the Latin American countries, but as the virus is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person, through education and prevention further spreading of the virus, and diseases developed from contracting the virus, can be stalled. That might give enough time to the divisions working on a cure for their drugs to be approved and released to the public. Through simply following the advice of Dr. Cortes on prevention, greater damage to the health of the general public can be avoided.

You can follow Dr. Cortes on Twitter or LinkedIn for more health news.