The Good News About the Zika Virus
The old joke is that the state bird of Louisiana is the mosquito. It's certainly a pest we deal with year-round in our part of the country. The "new" virus making it's way around the world and scientist say it is a mosquito born disease so it may be a problem for folks in our state. So, where's the good news you ask?
Well, if you can have good news about a virus that causes terrible birth defects, it's simply that no one diagnosed with the disease in this country contracted the disease in America. No Zika infections have been reported in Louisiana, although four other states have confirmed infections. Those are in Arkansas, New York, Virginia, and Minnesota.
The other good news about the Zika virus is that, the is realitively little danger to people in general, but can spell big probelms for pregnant women. Doctors say that the average person could have flu-like symptoms, but many people who are hit by the virus have no symptoms at all.
While Brazil seems to be the epicenter of the problem, doctors are warning pregnant to also avoid vacation spots, such as the Caribbean and Mexico. So far, all of the cases of Zika reported in the U.S. have originated in one of those areas of the world.
Unlike other mosquito-borne diseases, Zika has become of particular concern to pregnant women, because the Zika epidemic has beenlinked to babies born with microcephaly. That is a devastating neurological condition where the baby's head and brain do not develop.
Doctors are also advising that women who have traveled to one of the Caribbean, Brazil or Mexico while they were pregnant right away. Again, the problem is that women who are pregnant may have no symptoms at all making it that much harder to detect the disease. The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, or pink eye.
If or when Zika is locally transmitted, for those who are not expecting, the virus is usually mild and not a danger to future births.