Zika Virus Symptoms: What you need to know

Zika Virus is spreading, and it’s important to know as much as possible about the symptoms

Zika is in the United States: Zika is now in Florida, which has led health authorities to warn pregnant women to avoid travel to the state. Public Health England issued a travel warning after news that Zika had spread to the US mainland.

Over 50 Zika Virus cases have been reported in the United Kingdom.

What are the Zika Virus Symptoms?

Zika Virus Symptoms
Zika Virus Symptoms Chart: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

With Zika Virus spreading, it’s essential to be armed with knowledge on the symptoms. Here is the list of Zika Virus symptoms, as reported by the Centres for Disease Control (CDC):

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)

Other Zika Virus symptoms can include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Headache

The CDC is careful to point out that many people infected with Zika will have mild symptoms and some won’t even notice at all.

The CDC reports that the Zika Virus can remain in the blood of someone infected for around a week. They advise people with symptoms to see their doctor if they either live in, or have traveled to an area where the Zika Virus is spreading. Somebody infected with Zika is likely protected from having future Zika Virus infections.

Zika Virus Locations

According to the CDC, Zika Virus was reported in areas of Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands prior to the year 2015.

The first Zika Virus infections in Brazil were confirmed in 2015.

The CDC reports that Zika will continue to spread, and they are unsure how far and where it will spread over time.

Here is the full list of countries where Zika has been reported (From the CDC):

  • Cape Verde, Mexico, Anguilla, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saba, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincinet and the Grenadines, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, US Virgin Islands, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, American Samoa, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela

Zika Virus and Babies

Zika Virus can cause Microcephaly - small head size and severe brain defects.
Zika Virus – Symptoms of Microcephaly: Beth.herlin https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

Zika Virus poses a specific threat to pregnant mothers, as the transmission of Zika Virus from mother to child can cause severe brain related birth defects. Babies with Zika Virus are often born with very small heads and brain defects (microcephaly). This is why pregnant women are specifically warned against travelling to countries where Zika is spreading.

Brazil Olympics Zika fears

With Zika Virus spreading across Brazil, there are serious fears about the upcoming Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Many athletes have decided not to go and important health authorities have warned against it.

As Amir Attaran wrote in the Harvard Public Health Review, “Clinical studies are also mounting that Zika infection is associated not just with pediatric microcephaly and brain damage, but also adult conditions such as Guillain-Barré syndrome[1] and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which are debilitating and sometimes fatal.[2]”

Attaran has called for the Brazil Olympics to be cancelled because of the Zika Virus, but the games are going ahead.

With Zika spreading further and further, health authorities must act quickly, or a severe public health disaster could follow.

Further Resources