- Zika has spread now from Florida to parts of Illinois.
- Almost 50 cases of the Zika virus have been found in Illinois, including a couple of cases in pregnant women.
- Strangely enough, all of the 1,300 cases of people infected with Zika, none of them have received the disease through mosquito bites.
- The positive part of the virus is that it is extremely mild, and the only real danger comes from cases in pregnant women because it has been known to cause Microcephaly.
The world is no stranger to disease. Millennium after millennium we come face to face with plagues, viruses, and infections that threaten our existence. We have earned our right to inhabit this planet because we have survived the vigorous trials and tribulations.
The consumption, the plague, AIDS, hay fever, swine flu, H1-N1; each one has left its mark on our history. Now we face another challenge. Zika.
Originally, we witnessed the slow contamination of Florida. The swampy, summer weather, is the breeding ground for mosquitos. Those pestering little bugs, that suck out your blood while you’re trying to enjoy the summer sun, are now the harbingers of a new disease.
However, Florida is now not the only afflicted place. Illinois has now reported 46 cases of Zika, including a handful of women who are registered in the Zika Virus Pregnancy Registry.
Like any “outbreak” the majority of the time is spent between State Officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It seems like it takes ages to even determine what the outbreak it is. Some officials from the state of Illinois have reported that eight women (pregnant) are confirmed to have Zika. Then a later report came out that said that only five Zika cases (in pregnant women) could be confirmed and the other three with still being investigated. Then the three were reported to have been tested positive for a flavivirus, but it was unsure what it was. Now they are trying to decide whether it, is in fact, Zika or Dengue Fever.
The craziest part about Zika in the United States is that out of the 1,300 reported Zika infections none were passed on by mosquito bite. In fact, some very transmitted from one sexual partner to another. For a disease, that is spread through mosquito bites, the area that has been contaminated without mosquito bite is pretty remarkable.
Florida has already started spraying insecticides into the are to try and combat infected mosquitos.
The strangest thing about Zika is the fact that it isn’t very severe. It’s categorized as a flavivirus (like yellow fever, dengue fever, West Nile virus, etc). Yet, the symptoms are very mild, and only last for a couple of weeks. The strangest statistic is that only 1 out of every 5 people, who are infected with Zika, will get sick. It’s very rare that people go to the hospital because of the virus and it’s almost laughable to ask if you could die from it. It’s a very mild virus. The only time that it actually has some potency is in pregnant women. It has been known to cause birth defects, most commonly microcephaly (an abnormally small head of a newborn.)
As of now, there is no vaccine to treat Zika, you can only treat the symptoms (fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes.) Yet, because of it’s mild nature, and short lifespan inside the host, the need to treat the virus has not yet been found.
Still, it is good to be aware. It is good to be cautious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have suggested not traveling to infected areas. I personally, would suggest adhering to their warning, especially if you are pregnant. Yet, just as swine flu eventually disappeared, so too will this pass.