Zika Virus: What You Need to Know
South Carolina’s environment is rich in diversity, containing an abundance of forests and wooded areas, in addition to our miles of coastline, lakes, waterways, and marshes. While this ecosystem makes it an ideal location for camping, hiking, boating, and other outdoor activities, it also makes it a prime area for all sorts of fleas, bugs, and ticks. In light of the first of several reports on diseases caused or spread by common summer pests, our Charleston medical malpractice attorneys have assembled the following facts about the Zika virus. While this virus stems from overseas, experts report the likelihood of an increase in cases, both locally and throughout the United States that could have serious ramifications for years to come.
What Is The Zika Virus?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Zika virus is a disease spread by mosquitos that was first discovered more than 50 years ago in Africa and the Pacific Islands. CDC reports claim that while there are no known cases of the virus being contracted within the United States, there are close to 600 confirmed among U.S. citizens who traveled to American territories, such as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. Currently, outbreaks are raising alarms in other countries and territories, such as Brazil and Southeast Asia, and the CDC has issued travel advisories warning vacationers of the potential signs and dangers of the illness. As travelers return to this country from trips abroad, the number of confirmed cases of the Zika virus within the U.S. is expected to increase.
Signs and Symptoms of the Zika Virus
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the incubation period for contracting the Zika virus after being bit by an infected mosquito is currently not clear, but symptoms are most likely to appear within several days. In most cases, Zika symptoms are mild and will last for between two to seven days. Symptoms of Zika virus include the following:
- Eye infections
- Skin rashes
- Muscle and joint pain
- Excessive fatigue and lethargy
While Zika virus may be suspected by the symptoms, it can only be confirmed through tests of the patient’s blood or body fluids, such as urine and saliva.
Complications Caused By Zika Virus
The WHO reports that during prior Zika outbreaks in Brazil and Polynesia in 2013 and 2015, health authorities reported neurological and autoimmune complications due to the virus. In addition to these potentially serious issues, authorities have also noticed an increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the peripheral nervous systems, in those infected by the Zika virus.
One of the greatest concerns regarding the Zika virus is the potential effects it may have on pregnant women. WHO reports that researcher has shown a direct connection between pregnant woman with Zika and increased risks of fetal malformations and neurological disorders. An increase in a condition called microcephaly, a birth defect in which the baby’s head is significantly smaller than the rest of the body, has been increasingly reported among babies born to Zika infected mothers in Brazil.
Contact Us for Help
Whether you are pregnant, have traveled out of the country, or are simply suffering the effects of an ailment whose cause is undetermined, our South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys urge you to get the medical care and attention you need. At the Anastopoulo Law Firm, we provide aggressive representation for people who have suffered serious ramifications due to medical misdiagnosis and mistakes. If you suspect you are not getting the care or treatment you deserve, call or contact our Charleston office online today to see how we can help.