The Zika Virus: What You Need to Know
Maddie Albornoz, Staff Writer
The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the Zika virus a “Global Health Emergency.”
The virus itself has little to no effect on the person infected. In most cases, the symptoms include only a rash and a low grade fever, if any are shown at all. The virus was declared a Global Health Emergency because of its strong correlation to microcephaly.
Microcephaly is a condition that causes infants to be born with abnormally small skulls and underdeveloped brains. The South American epicenter for the virus is Brazil, but it has spread to the rest of the Americas.
The abundance of microcephaly in El Salvador has prompted their government to advise its citizens against getting pregnant until 2018. Travelers are also under strong advisement not to travel to the countries heavily affected by the virus if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant shortly after their trip.
Zika can be transmitted in two ways. The first and most common way is by mosquito bite. The mosquito that carries the Zika virus also carries yellow fever and malaria. While this species have been found as far north as Washington state, they are not very common in the U.S. Additionally, the current temperature and climate in our area does not provide a healthy environment for mosquitoes to live.
The second way Zika can be transmitted is through unprotected sex with the infected. A student at William & Mary contracted the virus through this method – in my opinion, having the virus that close is too close for comfort.
Be safe and remember: no glove, no love!