BITACORA-ZIKA-2Lately, the world has been abuzz with the term Zika virus. However, many still do not have any pinch of knowledge about this deadly microorganism. It is for this reason that we found it wise to share some information concerning the virus.

The mode of spread of this virus is through mosquito bites. Infection with Zika virus leads to the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pains
  • Conjunctivitis, this leads to red eyes.

The most surprising fact with this virus is that the symptoms are less severe and last from several days to a week. Rarely does infection with Zika virus lead to hospitalization. Death also rarely occurs.

The first confirmation of this virus was in Brazil. The case in Brazil led to reports of the presence of Guillain-Barre syndrome and expectant mothers giving birth to babies with defects. It is after the manifestation in Brazil that the Center for Disease Control issued travel notices to people travelling to areas known to be hotspot of the virus.

Before the virus became common in 2015, outbreaks were reported in certain parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the pacific Islands. Currently the virus is in many countries worldwide and it is presumed that the spread is likely to increase.

Prevention

Currently, no vaccine exists for the arrest of Zika virus. The best mode of prevention is by avoiding mosquito bites. The mosquitoes responsible for the spread of Zika virus mostly bite during the day. When travelling to zones where the presence of the virus has been reported, it is advisable to wear clothes that cover most parts of the body. It is also advisable to stay in areas with proper air condition and windows that screen the entry of mosquitoes. Sleeping under mosquito net and application of insect repellants are other measures of prevention.

Treatment

Treatment is an important area for pharmacists and other health care practioners.Since no vaccine is available, it is important to treat symptoms. The following measures can be explored:

  • Plenty of rest.
  • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Taking medications with analgesic effect such as acetaminophen to relieve pain.
  • According to the CDC, it is advisable not to take aspirin and other NSAIDS, for instance ibuprofen and naproxen. Aspirin and NSAIDS should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage (Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya virus).Patients on other medications should seek advice from their healthcare provider before taking additional drugs.