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Zika:WhatYouNeedToKnow

Society for Women's Health Research
Society for Women's Health Research Society for Women's Health Research
almost 2 years Washington, D.C., DC, United States Story
Zika: What You Need To Know

By The Society For Women’s Health Research

Over the past few weeks, you’ve likely heard buzz about Zika – a virus spread in subtropical regions through mosquito bites that may be responsible for serious health effects in unborn babies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first evidence of human infection occurred in the 1950s, but new outbreaks were recorded in the Americas, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands beginning late 2015. The largest current outbreak is in Brazil and other parts of tropical South and Central America, where almost 1.5 million people are thought to be infected.

In adults and children, the illness is mild and usually lasts only a few days.  Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.  However, in unborn babies the virus is thought to cause microcephaly – when a newborn baby’s head is much smaller than average, resulting in brain damage. Because of this, SWHR supports the CDC’s recommendations for pregnant women to postpone travel to areas with an ongoing Zika virus outbreak. Pregnant women (and women who are trying to become pregnant) who must travel should talk to their healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.

For more information or for a Zika virus Q&A, visit the CDC’s website, and view their additional coverage here. Additional information from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine can be found here.

The Society for Women’s Health Research is committed to promoting maternal health for women and their babies. Learn more at www.swhr.org.

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4 comments

  • Sarah Fein
    almost 2 years ago

    Thank you for writing about this. My male cousin was thinking of visiting brazil. Do you think he is safe to do so?

    Thank you for writing about this. My male cousin was thinking of visiting brazil. Do you think he is safe to do so?

    • Society for Women's Health Research
      Society for Women's Health Research Society for Women's Health Research
      almost 2 years ago

      Regarding males (or females who are not pregnant or planning to be pregnant) the disease is mild and non-life threatening, so the CDC is not making any specific recommendations to avoid travel for those people. However, people should properly protect themselves from mosquito bites which will prevent zika and other mosquito-bourne diseases (yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya – all of which are highly incapacitating and potentially fatal). The travel advisory is specifically important for women who are/could be pregnant because of the association with microcephaly in newborn babies.

      Regarding males (or females who are not pregnant or planning to be pregnant) the disease is mild and non-life threatening, so the CDC is not making any specific recommendations to avoid travel for those people. However, people should properly protect themselves from mosquito bites which will prevent zika and other mosquito-bourne diseases (yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya – all of which are highly incapacitating and potentially fatal). The travel advisory is specifically important for women who are/could be pregnant because of the association with microcephaly in newborn babies.

  • Elizabeth Orley
    Elizabeth Orley Household Engineer, Gluten Free Master & Marketing Guru & Mogul Global Ambassador
    almost 2 years ago

    I think there is also an alternative explanation for the outbreak, but it has to do with the chemicals used in Brazil. They pumped chemicals designed to kill mosquitoes into the drinking water in an effort to eliminate the larva. They started doing that in 2014, and that is when the first started seeing cases of the microcephaly birth defects in children in those areas. Far before the word ZIKA was ever muttered. We have to look at all avenues of this, if man is causing mutations in animals and insects with our chemicals, we have to look at the ramifications of that as well. Could humans have caused the problem here? How can we learn from it? Maybe the bigger question, is treating the areas with even more chemicals going to cause a bigger issue?

    I think there is also an alternative explanation for the outbreak, but it has to do with the chemicals used in Brazil. They pumped chemicals designed to kill mosquitoes into the drinking water in an effort to eliminate the larva. They started doing that in 2014, and that is when the first started seeing cases of the microcephaly birth defects in children in those areas. Far before the word ZIKA was ever muttered. We have to look at all avenues of this, if man is causing mutations in animals and insects with our chemicals, we have to look at the ramifications of that as well. Could humans have caused the problem here? How can we learn from it? Maybe the bigger question, is treating the areas with even more chemicals going to cause a bigger issue?

    • Society for Women's Health Research
      Society for Women's Health Research Society for Women's Health Research
      almost 2 years ago

      You can refer to the WHO’s efforts to try to determine the cause of the observed microcephaly: http://www.who.int/emergencies/zika-virus/situation-report/12-february-2016/en/

      You can refer to the WHO’s efforts to try to determine the cause of the observed microcephaly: http://www.who.int/emergencies/zika-virus/situation-report/12-february-2016/en/


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Society for Women's Health Research
Society for Women's Health Research

The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR ®) is a national non-profit based in Washington D.C. that is widely recognized as the thought-leader in promoting research on biological differences in disease and is dedicated to transforming women’s health through science, advocacy, and education.

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