What is the Zika Virus and Should You Worry?

Right now everyone is concerned with the Zika virus.  With it’s origination in South America, it seems like something you’d only read about in the papers.  However, with modern transportation bringing our countries closer, it’s starting to make its way up north to North America.

What is it and can it hurt you or your baby?

The Zika virus is transmitted through the mosquito.  The mosquito bites an infected individual and then bites you.  You then are infected.  Seems pretty straight forward and simple.

However, I don’t think the average woman needs to be concerned about this.  I do agree that it is a potential threat but it is so unlikely that you probably do more harm to your baby worrying about it than not.

The Zika virus originated in Uganda in the late 1940’s.  It made it’s way across the ocean to South America thanks to modern transportation and has now worked it’s way north, to us.

If you have the virus you’re likely not to know it.  In many cases you feel very tired, with rest being the only cure.  What pregnant woman isn’t already tired, right?  But, according to the CDC, 1 in 5 will get cold/flu symptoms.  These symptoms include rash, fever, joint pain, redness in the eyes, muscle pain/stiffness, and headache.  This can go on for a few days to a week.  This disease isn’t usually life threatening and will eventually resolve itself.

Not only can you get sick from a contaminated mosquito but there is a slight chance you can get sick from your infected husband.  The virus has been found alive in male semen for two weeks, and possibly longer.  From what I’ve read the CDC isn’t sure if the virus is strong enough to be passed on to a woman this way but are issuing warnings, just to be safe.

What everyone is worried about is pregnant women giving the Zika virus to their unborn child and the baby either miscarrying or getting microcephaly.  This is a concern but the chances are so small that most don’t need to concern themselves with it.

Yes, the Zika virus can be passed through the placenta, at least they’ve found the virus in the amniotic fluid.  But, the cases of this happening aren’t even confirmed.  Of the most recent cases of microcephaly in Brazil there have been 404 confirmed cases, with only 17 of them testing positive for the Zika virus.  Seventeen ladies!!  The normal birth rate in Brazil is 15 per 1,000 with their population being 200.4 million.  That means that there are 300,600 births there every year.   In other words, .00565% of all newborns in Brazil are born with this disease and infected with the Zika virus.  So, in conclusion, seventeen is hardly an epidemic.

I admit, no one wants their baby to be sick but I just want to put this into the proper perspective.  It seems the media and/or the government is always trying to scare us with some epidemic. Right now, it is the Zika virus. Yesterday it was the Avian Flu, the West Nile Virus and Ebola.  Tomorrow what will it be?