*UPDATED* Officials Take Precautions to Prevent the Spread of New Mosquito Virus
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More researches now suggest that this virus can also spread sexually.
Looking into previous cases of the Zika virus, in 2008, two scientists were infected by the virus and were returning home to Colorado after working in Senegal. One of the scientists’ wife became ill shortly after the husband’s return. She tested positive for Zika even though she had not traveled outside of the U.S. in years. This case considered the first documented case of a sexually transmitted disease of an insect-borne illness.
Research is ongoing to find out what other bodily fluids may carry the Zika virus.
Puerto Rico health officials reported their first case on Zika, a mosquito-related virus that is connected to a neurological disorder in newborns. Babies born with microcephaly have abnormally small heads that cause development issues and in some cases early death.
“There is no reason for alarm, and the public should continue to take commonsense steps to avoid mosquito bites,” said Puerto Rico Congressman Pedro Pierluisu on CNN last December.
Pregnant women bitten by a Zika-infected mosquito have a high risk of having their newborn develop microcephaly, a birth defect that can result in incomplete brain development. Most mothers with Zika reported having symptoms similar to those often experienced during the early stages of pregnancy, like vomiting.
Puerto Rican health officials are taking precautions and expect experts from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to visit the island early this month to educate local physicians. The CDC has issued warnings to tourists, especially to pregnant women, visiting Puerto Rico and other infected areas, telling them to watch out for mosquitos. They advise wearing long sleeves and pants that are thick enough to prevent mosquitos from biting through. They also recommend staying in air-conditioned rooms with screens on windows, and using insect repellent approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Unfortunately there is no vaccine to treat or prevent Zika, yet. Symptoms may include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes (like pink eye), muscle pain, headache, vomiting, and pain behind the eyes. These symptoms normally occur three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.