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Shining Light Into the Zika Virus

PrintWith global infection rates of the Zika virus increasing, physicians around the world are preparing are should be prepared to handle possible cases of the virus and answer patients’ questions. 

Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.

The CDC has issued a travel notice for Zika virus in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Mexico,
Central America and South America. More information about the CDC’s notices can be found

According to the Florida Department of Health, in South Florida, there have been no locally-acquired cases of Zika virus. There are currently three travel associated cases of Zika virus in Florida. It is important to practice “Drain and Cover” at home, but also when you are traveling, particularly to areas where mosquitos are prevalent such as the Caribbean, Central America
and South America.

• Drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.
• Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including in flower pots, old car tires and buckets.
• Empty and clean birdbaths and pet’s water bowls at least once or twice a week.
• Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that will not accumulate water.
• Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated.
• Be sure to empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
• Cover skin with clothing or repellent.
• Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves.
• Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
• Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are effective.
• Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out. 
• Keep mosquitoes out of your house.
• Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches and patios.

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