Diane le Carrà | HealthGreatness

In February, the World Health Organization (WHO) plans to hold an emergency meeting on the outbreak of the Zika virus, according to WHO chief Margaret Chan.

Not only is the virus rapidly spreading, it is linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil. The infants were born with small heads, an incurable and sometimes fatal condition known as microcephaly. a neurological disorder in which babies are born with smaller-than-normal heads and brains.

Brazil’s health ministry stated that the number of suspected cases of microcephaly in newborns increased by about 360 in the 10 days leading up to January 16. Suspected cases are now listed at 3,893. This is an ailment with no treatment, no cure and no clear prognosis. Unfortunately, medical information about the possible transmission of Zika from infected mothers to babies during pregnancy or childbirth is quite limited.

Until a Zika outbreak on the Micronesian island of Yap in 2007, global health authorities barely noticed any abnormal health issues showing any link to the virus.

According to a New York Times, editorial, Zika is also linked to paralysis in adults. There are limited reports that the virus may be transmitted sexually, but more research needs to be done. At this point, most researchers are concentrating on transmission via mosquito.

The symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • headaches,
  • rashes
  • bloodshot eyes

These are symptoms typical of several mosquito-borne illnesses. According to the Center For Disease Control. (C.D.C.), the disease is expected to follow the same pattern as dengue with limited outbreaks in wet, hot regions that include Florida, other Gulf Coast states, and Hawaii. Aggressive mosquito control is proposed to contain the infection.

Genetics And Contributing Factors

Down syndrome, a condition where an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21is linked to microcephaly.

A badly malnourished pregnant woman is running a risk not only for herself, but for the unborn baby. Other contributing factors include diabetes and alcohol consumption.

C.D.C. Recommendations when traveling to countries with Zika outbreaks:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents
  • Reapply insect repellent as directed
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or find accommodations that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • If you are outside, overseas, or unable to sleep inside, use a mosquito bed net to protect yourself/
  • Do not use repellent on covered skin.
  • Only use insect repellent on children older than two months of age.
  • Make sure a child’s extremities are covered.
  • Use mosquito netting to cover baby strollers, crib, and carriers.
  • With children do not apply insect repellent to their eyes, hands, mouth, or irritated skin.
  • Purchase permethrin-treated items