The world health organization (WHO) just declared it a public health emergency. Questions? Call the Health Department. 24/7 Zika Call Center: 1-800-962-1253
Fast facts about Zika Virus according to the CDC:
Zika virus was first recognized in 1947. The first outbreaks occurred in 2007 and 2013 in the Pacific Islands. In 2015, outbreaks occurred in Brazil and other countries. Mosquitoes continue to spread the virus.
The Zika virus is transmitted primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which has never been identified in Nebraska. Aedes albopictus might also transmit the virus. This species of mosquito is found in Nebraska but isn’t one of the most prevalent. Both bite mostly in the daytime.
Four out of five people infected with Zika virus will never have symptoms. Those who do get sick, the most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis or red eyes. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting up to a week.
There are reports of a birth defect called microcephaly in babies of mothers who were infected with the Zika virus while pregnant. Microcephaly is a rare condition where a baby’s head is smaller than expected. Health officials are still investigating the potential link. More about microcephaly.
Public health officials are looking into reports of Zika virus-associated cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome from previous outbreaks. GBS is a rare disorder causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. These symptoms can last a few weeks or several months.
There is no vaccine or specific medicine to treat Zika virus. The best way to prevent Zika or other diseases spread by mosquitoes is to prevent mosquito bites:
Use mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
Dress in long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks when you’re outside.
Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside
DOH & NJ Poison Information and Education System partner to open call line.