Zika is a virus spread by mosquitoes and sexual contact with an infected person. Although it doesn’t cause symptoms in some people, it has been linked to a serious birth defect called microcephaly as well as Guillain-Barre syndrome. A recent outbreak that was initially confined to the Caribbean and South America has now spread to portions of Miami-Dade County. Paramount Urgent Care offers fast and easy Zika testing for people who are at risk. Here is what you need to know about the virus, the symptoms, and how you can protect yourself.
What is Zika?
Although the Zika virus has only recently come to the attention of the public in the U.S., it was first discovered in 1947. Outbreaks of the virus, which is carried by the same kind of mosquitoes that carry yellow fever and dengue fever, were confined to Africa until 2007 when it started appearing in the South Pacific. In recent years, it has become a global health concern. The virus is riskiest to pregnant women and their babies as it can cause microcephaly, a condition that causes brain damage and underdeveloped heads. Although most cases are spread by mosquitoes, evidence of sexual transmission also exists.
What Are the Symptoms?
Most people who get Zika don’t have any symptoms and never know that they have had the virus. About one in five people will experience signs of Zika, including rash, joint pain, fever, and conjunctivitis. Rarely, Zika can lead to Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can cause temporary paralysis.
Can Zika Be Prevented?
Avoiding travel to affected areas is the best way to completely avoid Zika. You can also reduce your risk of infection by being vigilant about avoiding mosquito bites. Stay away from standing water and make sure there are screens on your doors and windows. Wear mosquito repellent that contains DEET when you are outdoors. If you have traveled to an affected area, avoid mosquito bites when you return home to reduce the risk of introducing Zika to your area.
Paramount Urgent Care is pleased to offer Zika testing at our walk-in clinics in Orlando, Oviedo, Lady Lake, and Clermont, alongside our range of urgent care services, physicals, and other screenings. To find a location near you, please call 352-674-9218.