Since the first case of Zika virus infection was reported in Brazil last year, buzz about the mosquito-borne illness has escalated along with fears — especially with the upcoming Summer Olympics set to start in Brazil where the virus is widespread.
The good news: A new study says
that only between 3 and 37 people out of a possible 500,000 visiting the Rio Olympics might return home with Zika. The risk, researchers say, is negligible.
The bad news:
While the odds of contracting the bug-borne virus are low now, they are expected to increase.
Here's the latest information you need to know about contracting and preventing Zika:
How You Get Zika
A bite from an infected and aggressive Aedes aegypti mosquito—which feeds both day and night—spreads the virus, Margaret Honein, Ph.D., MPH, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Z Living
. Zika can be passed by a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or at birth, she says. The child can develop birth defects, such as microcephaly, when the brain and head don’t fully develop. Researchers had thought only infected men could pass Zika to their sex partners, but the CDC just reported
the first female-to-male transmission. Zika is rarely fatal, and if you’re infected, mild symptoms—if they’re felt at all—may include fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes.
Also on Z Living: 9 Types Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases You Oughta Know
Help prevent Zika with Dr. Honein’s tips:
You Can Zap Zika
- Use an EPA-registered insect repellent
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Run your air conditioning
- Close doors and windows and use screens
- Banish standing water
As of July, 1,306 cases of Zika have been reported in the United States, all the result of travel or sexual transmissions. No “local," or USA-originating mosquito-borne Zika virus cases have been reported. But do see your doctor immediately if you suspect an infection.
Now that you're an expert on Zika-bearing mosquitos, here's some other pest-prevention strategies you should be aware of:
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Tell us in the comments: What are your biggest concerns about the Zika virus?