- The Zika Virus is currently “spreading explosively” in Latin America. Four million cases are predicted within the next year;
- Zika virus is expected to spread but it is difficult to predict how the virus will spread over time;
- The virus is currently under intense investigation because of concerns that it might cause pregnant women to miscarry or deliver babies with abnormally small brains;
- Zika Virus infections continue to be diagnosed in the U.S. All cases are in travelers returning to the U.S. from out of the country.
- These cases include one in a pregnant woman in N.Y.;
- Zika Virus was declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) on February 1, 2016;
- A pregnant woman is not necessarily at risk, the unborn child is at greater risk;
- There is documented evidence of sexually-transmitted cases (stays in semen for up to two weeks);
- Other potential ways that the virus is transmitted:
- Pregnant women should avoid traveling to countries that are currently experiencing Zika Virus outbreaks;
- If traveling in a Zika-affected country, the best way to avoid Zika is to avoid mosquito bites;
- Minimize outdoor activity;
- Wear long clothing and/or permethrin-treated clothing including boots and socks;
- Sleep in enclosed air-conditioned and/or netted spaces;
- There are several insect repellents that are considered safe for pregnant women:
- 20 percent DEET;
- Insect Repellent 3535 (IR 3535);
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE);
- There are currently no vaccines or medications available to prevent or treat Zika infections;
- If infected, rest and drink lots of fluids to help the body naturally combat the infection.
- Pregnant women who have traveled to an affected area, whose partners have traveled to an affected area, or who think they might have Zika Virus infection should consult with a health care provider without delay
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- 80% of those infected will not experience symptoms and may unaware of the infection
- 1 in 5 people infected will become ill
- Symptoms are usually mild, and will last only a few days or up to one week
Relevant News Items
NYMC Faculty Experts on Zika Virus
ROBERT W. AMLER, M.D., M.B.A.
Dean and Professor of Public Health; Professor of Pediatrics and Environmental Health Science; Vice President for Government Affairs - Professor Amler also holds faculty appointments in public health, pediatrics, and environmental health science.
DORIS J. BUCHER, PH.D.
Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology - Professor Bucher oversees the laboratory that develops strains for the production of the world's annual supply of influenza vaccine.
GARY P. WORMSER, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases & Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine - Dr. Wormser leads a top team of experts in the study of tick-borne diseases.