ZIKA VIRUS —What You Need to Know and What You Need to Do


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, CAMBRIDGE, MA, August 10, 9:00 AM: Zika is a virus that is spread by the bite of a mosquito, sexual contact, and from a pregnant woman to her fetus. It is likely that Zika can also be spread through blood transfusions. Safe sexual behavior and avoidance of mosquito bites are the best protection. Mosquitos that carry the virus become infected when they bite an infected person. Zika infected mosquitos are aggressive daytime biters, but can also bite at night.

Many people with Zika have no symptoms at all.  The most common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes (conjunctivitis). Other symptoms may include muscle pains and headache. The symptoms generally last several days to a week. Most do not get sick enough to go to a hospital and death is rare. Once infected, people are immune from future infections.

Zika infections during pregnancy are a major concern because of the risk for spread to the fetus and cause birth defects including microcephaly, visual and eye abnormalities, deafness, growth abnormalities and disorders of the nervous system.

Zika Outbreaks have now been reported in many countries including certain parts of the United States. Specific areas where Zika virus is spreading changes over time. Travelers are advised to visit the Center for Disease Control Travels Health Website (www.cdc.gov/zika)

There is currently no vaccine or injection to protect against Zika so the best prevention is protection against the disease:

  • Wear long sleeve clothes
  • Use insect repellents that contain DEET. Do not use insect repellents on babies younger than two years old. Do not use products containing oil of eucalyptus or Para-methane-diol on children younger than 3 years of age.
  • Use mosquito netting for babies
  • Use mosquito bed net if sleeping outdoors.
  • Prevent sexual transmission of virus by using condoms of not having sex

If you think you might have contracted the disease there are no specific medications available to treat it. It is, however, important to treat the symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Take Tylenol (acetaminophen) to reduce pain or fever. DO NOT take aspirin or other anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Speak to your doctor about the availability of a blood test in your area to detect the disease. Some tests are available but the accuracy may vary depending upon the test, and when the infection started.
  • To help prevent others from getting sick, follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.

WorldPath Health is committed to providing our international patients and their families around the glove with access to the best heath care. WorldPath Health will continue to provide updates as needed regarding this important healthcare concern. Please check this website frequently for ZIKA updates and other important medical information,

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