Zika virus recently became a global concern when the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that the virus can spread through sexual contact — and from a pregnant woman to her unborn child. Due to the potential health risks, CDC issued travel warnings for affected areas of the world such as Singapore, the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands, and South and Central America. Unfortunately, the first case of Zika virus has now been reported in Malaysia.
The name Zika originates from the Zika forest in Uganda where the virus was first discovered in 1947. It is spread to humans primarily by the day-time active female Aedes mosquitoes when it feeds on blood in order to lay eggs.
Zika virus often has no or only mild symptoms, similar to a mild form of dengue fever. Sometimes, the symptoms can be mistaken for those of the flu or another viral infection. After the bite of an infected mosquito, the incubation period ranges from 3 to 12 days, with an average of 2 to 7 days.
The main symptoms of Zika Virus:
- A low grade fever of less than 38.5°C
- A flat, red skin rash that often starts on the face then spreads throughout the body
- Mild joint pain that in rare cases can persist for one month
- Red eyes
Other less common symptoms:
- Swelling of the legs and small joints of the hands and feet
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Muscle pain
- Pain behind the eyes
- Ganglion cysts
- Sore throat
Tips to help prevent Zika Virus:
- Use insect repellent after applying sunscreen (mosquitoes that spread Zika live indoors and outside and they bite both day and night)
- Wear long pants and long–sleeved shirts when you can
- Use condoms whenever you have sex
- If you experience Zika virus symptoms:
- Before getting pregnant, wait 8 weeks after symptoms start for women, 6 months after symptoms start for men
- Use condoms for 6 months
- If your partner is already pregnant, use condoms or don’t have sex during the pregnancy
Zika Virus is now in Malaysia:
On September 1, 2016, Malaysia reported its first case of Zika. The woman tested positive after visiting Singapore, where 115 people have been infected. The 58-year-old victim had shown signs of a rash and fever one week after coming back from Singapore.
While the Zika threat has just begun in Malaysia, dengue is still a major concern. With no current cure, and dengue cases on the rise, it is important to protect yourself financially against an unexpected stay in hospital. An accident hospital plan like EZCergas not only helps to cover the high costs of a hospital stay, but it also offers a bonus dengue and malaria add-on which pays a daily income benefit to aid your recovery.