Everything you need to know about how people contract the Zika virus. If you’re planning a family holiday to the Americas, you should definitely be taking into account your family’s potential exposure to the Zika virus. This mosquito born disease has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO (World Health Organization), so here are some family travel tips about how you can avoid Zika when you travel with kids.
Where did Zika come from?
Zika has been around in humans since the 1950s in Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific Islands. However it was not considered a major threat to human health in the past because outbreaks were small.
Zika began to hit the headlines in May 2015 when it was reported in Brazil and has since spread rapidly. It has since also been reported in Barbados, Bolivia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname and Venezuela.
How is Zika spread?
Zika is spread by some species of the Aedes mosquito. This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue and chikungunya. They are found throughout the Americas. If they drink the blood of an infected person, they can then infect the subsequent people they bite. Typically these mosquitos bite in the day especially at dawn and dusk.
How dangerous is Zika virus?
Only one in five people infected will develop symptoms of Zika. Death by Zika is rare.
The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya.
· mild fever;
· conjunctivitis (red, sore eyes);
· joint pain;
· a rash.
If you have recently travelled with kids, it’s worth visiting your travel doctor such as the experts at International Medical Clinic Singapore to discuss when and where you travelled. Your doctor may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya.
How do I know if I have Zika?
Zika virus is diagnosed by a blood test or testing of other bodily fluids (like your saliva or urine).
What is the treatment for the Zika virus?
There is no vaccine or drug treatment for Zika. Patients are advised to rest and drink plenty of fluids.
What can I do to avoid Zika?
As there is no treatment, the only option is to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.
Health officials advise people to:
· use insect repellents;
· cover up with long-sleeved clothes;
· keep windows and doors closed.
The CDC in the USA has advised pregnant women not to travel to areas affected by the Zika virus. To find out more, head to the CDC fact page:
This story was sponsored by International Medical Clinic Singapore