US Surgeon General This link will take you to the whitehouse.gov site for more information on the Zika and how it is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is a very interesting and informative video on this issue.
You've probably heard news reports about Zika, a virus that's been spreading across South and Central America as well as the Caribbean.
Zika is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes. In past outbreaks, the vast majority of people who contracted Zika didn't experience symptoms. For those with symptoms, they were relatively mild.
Zika infection in a pregnant woman can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Zika has also been linked to neurological disorders such as Guillain-Barré syndrome in those infected, and we have learned that it can also be spread from a man to his sexual partners.
We're learning more about this virus every day. As Surgeon General, my job is to make sure that you have the information you need to stay safe and healthy.
We are responding to local transmission of Zika by mosquitoes in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa -- and we are taking steps to prepare for any transmission within the continental United States. Right now, researchers are working hard to develop a vaccine that will prevent Zika infections.
The federal government is also working closely with the states and private partners to ensure that adequate testing capacity is available so that anyone who may be infected -- especially pregnant women -- can find out quickly and take steps to prevent further spread of Zika. We are also working with states to help them refine and implement Zika preparedness and response plans for their jurisdictions.
But this work takes resources. And we will need more resources to make sure that communities across our country can address a potential Zika outbreak.
That is why President Obama has requested funds to help us prevent, detect, and treat this virus. It is my hope that Congress will act quickly to provide funding so we can protect the American people from the spread of Zika.
Zika is primarily spread to people through the bite of infected Aedesmosquitoes. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy, and it can be sexually transmitted by a man to his partners. There is no evidence at this time that a woman can transmit the Zika virus to her sex partners.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Only about one in five people infected with the Zika virus will feel sick. In those that do, symptoms are usually mild and can include fever, rash, joint pain and red eye. Once a person is infected he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
Areas at Risk
Currently, outbreaks of Zika are occurring in many countries and territories around the world, but especially in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. As the CDC notes, specific areas where the Zika virus is being transmitted are likely to change over time.
Treatment and Prevention
Right now, there is no vaccine to prevent this disease and no medicine to treat it. The best way to prevent infection by mosquitoes is to protect yourself from getting bitten by wearing long shirts and pants, using insect repellents, sleeping under mosquito nets, and more.
For the latest information and resources on the Zika virus, please go to cdc.gov/zika.
Dr. Vivek Murthy
19th U.S. Surgeon General
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