Keeping it real and using science to explain

Zika’s a big deal-but before you panic, here’s what you should know

Posted in Uncategorized
at 2016.04.20

zika mosquito


Just added to the No-Fly list*

Zika. It’s the virus that everyone is talking about. It’s news these days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus an international public health emergency in February of this year.

What’s the deal?

The alarm began after the Brazilian national health authorities reported that babies born to moms exposed to the virus during pregnancy were being diagnosed with abnormally small heads, known as microcephaly.

 Can you repeat that?

Zika was first identified in humans in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania in 1952 and has suddenly resurfaced as an outbreak in Brazil, or ground zero, in May of last year. It has subsequently spread to more than 20 Latin countries, including Costa Rica and Jamaica.

About those headlines…

Splashy. Media reports have left many confused, scared and unsure as new updates continue to unfold. The best way to cope with the scare is to stay informed by checking for any new Zika information with the CDC, or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the WHO websites, as we have done below.

 Questions that have bugged you

  1. How do I get exposed to the Zika Virus?

According to the CDC, If you travel to or live in an area with active Zika Virus transmission you are at risk. Or if you have sex (vaginal, anus or penis to mouth) without a condom with a man who traveled to or lives in an area with an active transmission. Male to male sexual transmission has recently been documented.

  1. What kind of mosquito carries the virus?

The mosquito that carries the Zika Virus is the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. There is some evidence that the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) can transmit the virus, too. This is a concern because this mosquito is widespread in the U.S.

  1. Where is the mosquito located right now?

The Zika virus before 2015 was documented in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. After May 2015, the Zika virus was confirmed in Brazil and has since spread to other countries, including Cape Verde, Mexico, the Carribean, Central America, the Pacific Islands, and South America. Check with the CDC website for up to date transmission information.

  1. Have there been any outbreaks in the U.S.?

Zika Virus is confirmed in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. In the U.S. there have been no locally acquired Mosquito-borne cases reported. However, there are 273 travel associated Zika virus disease reports in multiple states per the CDC.

  1. Is there a vaccine or cure available?

Presently there is no vaccine or cure. But you can treat the symptoms with rest, pain and fever reducers, such as Tylenol.

  1. What happens to a pregnant mom if exposed?

Only one out of 5 people will get sick, according to the CDC. For people who are sick, the symptoms begin around 2-7 days of being bit and are usually mild-fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The biggest risk is to the unborn child.

Recently the virus has raised new concerns about an increased risk for Guillen- Barre syndrome, a disorder of the nervous system causing muscle weakness and paralysis. Guillen-Barre is uncommon, and its causation is not well understood. It has also been known to occur rarely after exposure to infections, viruses, surgery, and immunizations.

  1. Can a mom pass on the Zika virus through her breast milk?

CDC says to date there is no evidence. Because of the benefits of breastfeeding, the CDC has given moms the green-light to go ahead even in Zika virus areas.

  1. What is the risk to the baby if exposed to the Zika virus in utero?

According to the CDC, Zika virus infection increases the risk for adverse fetal outcomes, including congenital microcephaly.”


You didn’t ask, but I have to tell you…….

We don’t yet know if the Asian Tiger mosquito that lives in the U.S. will carry the Zika virus because they are not active at this time of year. There also remains the difficulty of tracking the Zika Virus since most people that carry the virus can show no symptoms.

What should you do ? 

The CDC recommends you learn how to keep mosquitoes from biting in the first place,…


  1. Prevent mosquitoes from breeding around your home by eliminating standing water
  2. Keep your yard in shape, maintained and clear of debris.
  3. Mow your lawn and trim your bushes for good air flow
  4. Keep screens on your windows and doors at all times
  5. Air-condition your home
  6. Wear protective clothing
  7. Sleep under a mosquito net if you are overseas
  8. Use EPA-Registered Insect Repellant
  9. Treat clothing with Permethrin or buy Permethrin treated clothing to wear during mosquito season

For information on preventing sexual transmission of Zika visit #prevent. And for real time information on Zika and your future pregnancy, visit #zika&thecontraceptionmisconception.

Traveling? Visit the CDC website for Zika travel information.





10 thoughts on “Zika’s a big deal-but before you panic, here’s what you should know”

  1. Thanks so much for this important, timely information for all of us.

    I didn’t think about trimming bushes for good air flow. I’m on it!

    1. thehealthscope says:

      Donna, your welcome. Mosquitos have always been unpleasant, even before the threat of the Zika virus. Some of the tips the CDC and other health agencies have suggested certainly will come handy when mosquito season hits! Thank you for visiting.


  2. Excellent information at just the right time. Knowing about Zika gives us some control to guard against it.

    1. thehealthscope says:

      Thank you, Anne. Agreed. And we should all keep checking with the CDC for updates to learn more. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Thanks for the clear and concise education and resources, Cynthia.

    1. thehealthscope says:

      Your welcome! I appreciate you visiting!

  4. I can always count on you and your blog to provide me state-of-the-art information and great knowledge. Thank you for breaking this topic down for us and for sharing what we need to know to prevent this virus. Great article, sharing!

    1. thehealthscope says:

      Elizabeth, thank you! I can always count on your blog at to provide nurses with lots of great tools! Especially, to bring back the “hurrah” in their nursing careers! Thanks for visiting!

  5. Hi Dr. Jaffe,

    I found your article helpful to share as a podcaster. I appreciate the time you devoted to sharing such relevant and important information, especially with the upcoming summer season accompanying the influx of mosquitoes. Keep up the great work, I love your blog!

    1. thehealthscope says:

      Dr. Danford, thank you kindly! I love your blog, too! I am attaching the link here to your podcast on episode 27 News Flash: Zika Virus: or folks can visit go to your podcast link and they can click on episode 27 on the Zika virus. You did a great job updating everyone on Zika! Thank you for visiting!

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