The threat of Zika has been dominating the headlines, and it’s important to know the facts so you can protect yourself and your family.
The Zika virus is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Zika is prevalent in Central and South Americas and the Caribbean; however, the identification of travel-related cases in the continental U.S. has recently progressed to more locally-transmitted cases.
The best way to prevent contracting Zika is by protecting against mosquito bites: use an EPA-registered insect repellent; wear long sleeved-shirts and long pants; and eliminate standing water from around your home.
It’s important to recognize the symptoms of Zika in yourself or family members, which include: fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain and headache. These symptoms typically last several days to a week. There is no vaccine or medication to treat Zika.
In addition to mosquito bites, Zika can also be transmitted sexually, even before symptoms are present in the infected partner. It is especially important for pregnant women to recognize Zika symptoms as the virus can cause serious birth defects and pregnancy complications.
If you have questions or believe you may have contracted Zika, we encourage you to contact your primary care physician for appropriate testing. Please be prepared to describe your symptoms and travel history. CDC offers a resource to answer your Zika-related questions at www.cdc.gov/zika/.
Joseph L. Chow, MD, MBA, President and Chief Medical Officer
TeamHealth Ambulatory Care