Zika is a virus that is usually mild ie slight fever, joint pain, rash and less common are headaches and vomiting. These symptoms can last up to a week. Zika is however a concern in pregnant women as it has been reported to cause a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly (a small head and underdeveloped brain).
Zika is transmitted through mosquito bites and can pass from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. Blood tests are done if one suspects that they have the virus based on the above mentioned symptoms.
There is no known cure for Zika but a doctor will probably recommend that you get plenty rest, drink lots of water to avoid dehydration and will prescribe something to relieve the pain and fever. Remember not to take any drugs when pregnant without permission from your doctor.
When planning to travel to areas where Zika has been reported such as South America and Tropical Africa, you need to take safety precautions to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
- Use insect repellent which is safe during pregnancy
- Wear long sleeves and pants
- Sleep under a treated mosquito net
Information about Zika is evolving everyday as it is still being studied. No cases have been reported in Southern Africa as yet but you are all advised to take the necessary precautions. Keep watching for more Zika Alert updates.
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