Zika virus has spread quickly spread across the globe in recent years, and there’s growing concern over Zika virus in the United States. The virus was first identified in humans in the 1950s, but last year was the the first time many Americans heard of the virus. However, while more people are now aware of Zika in United States, there’s still confusion as to what it is and what the virus does.
What does Zika virus do?
Zika virus disease
Symptoms of Zika virus disease might include conjunctivitis, fever, general discomfort, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, or rashes.
These symptoms can be mild, and it’s possible that a person infected with Zika virus won’t show symptoms at all. Zika symptoms can last a couple of days or more than a week.
There’s no vaccine or medicine for Zika virus.
Zika virus and pregnancy
Zika virus disease is spread primarily by infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. While transmission occurs mostly through mosquito bites, the virus can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse.
The virus can also be passed down from pregnant women to their babies. Current research indicates that Zika virus has a mild effect on healthy adults; however, it can have a devastating affect on babies. Research shows that Zika virus can cause microcephaly and other fetal brain defects.
There have also been connections with Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Can Zika virus affect your heart?
More research is being done to determine what other effects Zika virus can have on a person.
The Mayo Clinic recently published findings showing a correlation between Zika virus infection and heart complications. Nine adult patients infected with Zika virus were examined. Only one of the patients had a previous history of cardiovascular problems (high blood pressure); however, eight of the nine patients developed an arrhythmia, and six had evidence of heart failure.
Th findings do not confirm that Zika virus affects the heart, but it does indicate the need for further research.
Is Zika virus in Arkansas?
While there have been cases of Zika virus in Arkansas, and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are native to Arkansas, there is no evidence of active mosquito-borne Zika transmission in Arkansas.
That being said, it’s still important to keep yourself safe from mosquito-borne disease, especially when traveling to areas with mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission. Here’s how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend you protect yourself from Zika.