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Zika Virus: Symptoms and Diagnosis

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Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and the genus Flavivirus, transmitted by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti. Its name comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947.

Symptoms:
– 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika)
– common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache

– incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week

– Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week but it can be found longer in some people

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Treatment:
*There is no vaccine to prevent or specific medicine to treat Zika infections

Treat the symptoms:
– Get plenty of rest
– Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
– Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to relieve fever and pain
– Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
– If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication
– If you have Zika, prevent mosquito bites for the first week of your illness
– During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites
– An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people

Diagnosis:
– symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika
– see your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where Zika is found
– if you have recently traveled, tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled
– your healthcare provider may order specialized blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya

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