Whether you’re trying to conceive or are already pregnant, it is important to know about the Zika virus. This mosquito borne virus has spread to dozens of countries (including the United States), and can cause devastating effects for both pregnant women and their babies. As with any virus, one of the most crucial aspects to arm yourself lies in staying informed. Learn all you can and stay up-to-date on tips and advice. To start with, here is what you should know:
What Is the Zika Virus?
The Zika virus is a disease primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito (typically the Aedes species). It was initially discovered in 1947, and is named after the Ugandan Zika Forest where the original monkeys were found with the virus.
What Makes It Dangerous?
In most cases, the Zika infection is often mild. However, for pregnant woman it can be devastating; causing birth defects (such as microcephaly), or even miscarriage.
How Is the Virus Transmitted?
There are four primary methods of transmission. They are:
- Mosquito Bites
- Sexual Contact from Males to their Partners
- Blood Transfusions
- Mother to Child (ex. expectant mother to fetus, or to baby during delivery)
The incubation period, or the time from exposure to the onset of symptoms for the disease is currently unknown. However, current estimates place it from a few days to a week.
What Are the Symptoms?
Symptoms for those suffering from a Zika infection are similar to having a mild case of the flu. These symptoms can include: headache, mild fever, muscle and/or joint pain, pink eye (conjunctivitis), and rash.
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