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Tips on Prevention and Protection from the Zika Virus

tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. The first human cases of Zika were detected in 1952 and since then, outbreaks have been mainly confined to tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. However, because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases may not have been recognized.
 
What we know today
  • The virus is primarily spread to people through mosquito bites. The virus can also be spread from mother to child or through transmission of bodily fluids.
  • Most people infected with the virus have mild or no symptoms. For those who do develop symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle/joint pain, rash and/or conjunctivitis (red eyes), the illness is generally mild and typically lasts a few days to a week.
  • Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and fatalities are rare.
  • To date, there have been over 120 cases of Zika reported in Texas.
 
Prevention
As there is no vaccine to prevent Zika, the best way to prevent the disease’s spread is to protect yourself from mosquito bites by:
  • Getting rid of standing water when it collects outside (i.e., flower pots, toys, buckets, gutters, etc.)
  • Covering trash containers.
  • Wearing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents—click here for a list. These repellents—including those that contain DEET—are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Plus, mosquito repellent is now a covered Medicaid benefit.
  • Covering up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Keeping mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Limiting outdoor activities during peak mosquito times (i.e., dusk and evening hours).
  • Being aware of areas where Zika may be prevalent while travelling.
 
For more information
There are a great deal of online resources to provide you with more information on the Zika virus. Visit any of the following sites for more details:

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