Zika is a disease spread through mosquito bites which can cause severe birth defects, but reports say it is not contagious from person to person.
Parts of central and south America have reportedly been hit by the disease, while in affected areas, officials have advised that pregnant women or women planning on becoming pregnant to avoid visiting those areas.
Zika is caught through mosquito bites, and while not contagious from person to person, it possesses the ability to cause birth defects and some Latin American governments have urged women not to get pregnant until 2018.
A small number of cases have occurred “through sexual transmission or by transmission from mother to foetus via the placenta,” according to Wales Online.
Recent report has also revealed that a small number of cases have occurred “through sexual transmission or by transmission from mother to foetus via the placenta,” per Wales Online.
Zika has a possible association with congenital malformations and pregnant women, in any trimester, or women planning on becoming pregnant and travelling to affected areas should avoid visiting an area where an active outbreak is being reported.
Zika and pregnant women
The disease has a possible association with congenital malformation and pregnant women, in any trimester or those planning to get pregnant and making plans to travel to areas reportedly affected are advised to shelve such plans. This is aimed at saving their lives as the disease is spread through mosquito bite.
However, authorities have also advised that any pregnant woman bent on taking a trip to areas where outbreaks have been reported, should take stringent measures to avoid bites from mosquitoes both in the daytime and tight time hours.
Zika has also been linked to the Guillain-Barré syndrome—which is a rare and serious condition of the peripheral nervous system. This occurs when the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system.
Travellers to countries where the outbreak has been reported should note that there are not vaccines or drugs to prevent Zika, and are therefore advised to take insect bite avoidance measures to reduce the possibility of being bitten by the mosquito that transmits it.
Travellers have also been advised to get a good repellent containing N, N-diethylmetatoluamide (DEET) on exposed skin, together with light cover-up clothing as mosquitoes predominantly bite during the day as well as around dawn and dusk.
Symptoms of the disease includes: conjunctivitis/red eyes; joint pain (with possible swelling mainly in the smaller joints of the hands and feet); eye pain; muscle pain; rash; low-grade fever; and headache.
It takes between three to twelve days for an infected person to start experiencing the symptoms of Zika after the first bite from an infected mosquito. However, the symptoms can start manifesting at even a shorter or longer in some individuals.
If however, a person is infected by the disease, the possibility of it being contacted by another person is non-existing. This means the possibility of spreading the disease through the three people who have contacted it in Britain does not exist.