With the 2016 Olympics in Brazil just getting started we are increasingly being asked, “What can I do to protect myself against the Zika Virus and how is it spread?” Zika Virus is principally spread by infected Aedes mosquitoes when they bite. There are however other ways it is spread that are important to keep in mind when trying to avoid this nasty virus.
- Mother to Child: A pregnant woman can pass the virus to her unborn fetus. This can result in birth defects, specifically microcephaly and other fatal brain defects.
- Sex: Infected hosts can pass the virus to their partner.
- Blood Transfusion: Although this has not happened in the United States, there are numerous documented cases in Brazil.
- Laboratory Exposure: Persons working with the virus in a lab atmosphere are at a higher risk for becoming infected.
Protecting yourself from getting the virus is not as simple as putting on some mosquito repellent, although that is an excellent first step. The most important things that can be done to prevent getting infected is to avoid mosquito bites, people who have been travelling to areas known to have the virus, practice safe sex (use a condom) or abstain from sex altogether, quit your job at the Zika research lab and avoid blood transfusions at all costs.
Tongue in cheek humor aside, mosquito repellent and avoiding mosquito bites are the two most important things a person can do to avoid infection. The virus has not yet been transmitted from a mosquito to a person in the United States, and the desert southwest is not exactly a hotspot for mosquitoes. You can find the latest in Zika prevention at www.CDC.com.
Learn more about Zika Virus:
Zika Virus: What We Know So Far