What is the Zika Virus and how fast is it spreading in the U.S.? People around the world are panicked over the virus that can’t be cured and may be linked to birth defects, including unusually small heads and brain damage in newborn babies.
Can you die from the Zika virus, is it contagious, how does it spread, is it safe to travel, how many cases are in the U.S., and will it become a pandemic in the U.S.?
Here’s what you need to know about the virus that The Guardian states could become a bigger global health threat than the Ebola epidemic.
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) January 30, 2016
What is the Zika virus and how does it spread?
Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus and spreads through the bite of the Aedes mosquito, commonly found in tropical and subtropical zones around the globe, even in the U.S. The virus spreads from person to person through bites from infected mosquitoes. According to FOX News, the disease can also spread via a “non-Aedes” local mosquito that “bites someone with Zika and spreads it to the next person.”
What are the symptoms and can you die from the Zika virus?
Common symptoms include fever, conjunctivitis, rash, and joint pain that can last up to a week. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “there is no evidence” that the virus can cause death. There is currently no vaccine or medicine available to prevent or treat Zika virus infections; fluids, rest, and acetaminophen are suggested for those who contact the virus.
Is it safe to travel and how many people have contracted the Zika virus in the U.S.?
The CDC has issued a Level 2 travel alert for anyone headed to the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico.
Most recent reports indicate that the virus is “locally transmitted” in the following countries: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Venezuela. According to USA Today, Jamaica reported its first case of the Zika virus on January 30.
There are currently 36 confirmed cases in the United States, but CNN reports the patients contracted the virus while traveling to infected areas including four pregnant women who live in Illinois, D.C., and New York.
— Scientific American (@sciam) January 27, 2016
Will Zika become a pandemic in the U.S.?
The WHO reports that the Zika virus is “spreading explosively” and there is a possibility that it could infect four million people by the end of 2016.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads up the National Institutes of Health’s infectious diseases branch tells CBS News that the outbreak is considered a pandemic in South America and in the Caribbean. Although he doesn’t expect a “major outbreak” in the U.S., there is a possibility that the Zika virus will “eventually be found in mosquitoes” in the United States.