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Get stoked! New for summer 2016 there's a potentially life-threatening mosquito-transmitted virus that could be coming to a town near you! Say hello to the Zika virus! 

According to WHO.com, Zika is a mosquito-borne virus transmitted by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes. Zika has been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is an immune system disorder that could result in paralysis. Those infected with the virus have symptoms that can include mild fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headaches. For most other people, the virus offers little threat—approximately 80 percent of people who become infected never experience symptoms. The Zika virus poses the deadliest threat to pregnant women and their unborn children. Maternal infection during the first trimester of pregnancy may be linked to microcephaly in babies, an abnormally small head and the potential for neurological issues. Here are all the things women need to know about the potential threat and how to prevent it:

  • According to UPI.com, one in every 100 pregnant women infected with the virus during the first trimester will give birth to a baby with microcephaly. 
  • The Zika virus started in Uganda in 1947 and was thought to be relatively harmless. However, last year, Brazil experienced an outbreak where there have been more than 5,600 suspected or confirmed cases of microcephaly, according to Consumer.healthday.com.
  • Eighteen cases of Zika have been diagnosed in pregnant U.S. women, up from the nine that the CDC had previously reported. 
  • All of the American women had traveled to an area with a Zika outbreak, according to the CDC. At least 258 U.S. travelers have been infected with Zika while visiting the Caribbean or South America.
  • Zika is spreading widely in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, which are reporting three travel-related cases and 283 cases spread by local mosquitoes, including 35 in pregnant women. Zika is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
  • The disease can be sexually transmitted. 
  • The mosquitos are not born with the virus, they acquire it after they have bitten someone already affected. 
  • According to CBSNews, there have been 49 cases of Zika confirmed in New York state. More are expected as mosquito season comes this spring and summer.
  • Gov. Cuomo has issued a six-step plan to protect against the virus, which includes providing larvicide tablets for standing water and encouraging people to get rid of clean water in containers where mosquitoes breed, “such as old tires, children’s toys, plastic containers, and even clogged gutters — especially after it rains.” There is also a plan to distribute free protection kits for pregnant women, which include bug spray and condoms. 
  • The CDC currently has this advice for pregnant women:
  • Consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
  • If you must travel to or live in one of these areas, talk to your health-care provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.
  • If you have a partner who lives in or has traveled to an area where Zika transmission is ongoing, either use condoms properly every time or do not have sex during your pregnancy.


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Courtney Bissonette is a New York based writer and improv comedienne. She writes primarily about movies, pop cultures and feminist heroes. She gets along best with old people. She has seen more old movies than your grandma, probably. Salt from Salt n Pepa once took her Trick'r Treating. You can follow her on instagram at @gddamnitcourtney or twitter @courttette

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