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Zika Virus: What Parents (and Expecting Parents) Need to Know

On February 1st, 2016 the World Health Administration declared the mosquito-borne Zika virus an international public health emergency. Dr. Sheena Banerjee of AllKids Urgent Care visited with Channel 3 on Good Morning Arizona to discuss Zika and what parents and potential or expecting parents need to know. Here are Dr. Banerjee’s main points in case you missed the segment.

  1. Zika is a virus that can cause the following symptoms: Rash, fever, pink eye (conjunctivitis) and joint pain with some experiencing headache, muscle pain or vomiting.

  2. Parents should be concerned if their children are experiencing some of the mentioned symptoms, but keep in mind Zika cannot be spread through casual contact. The symptoms you or your child are experiencing are most likely due to another common winter illness such as strep throat or the flu.

  3. Parents should also take note that the only cases of Zika right now in the United States are from those who have traveled recently to Latin America and/or the Caribbean and came in contact with a mosquito.

  4. Some of Zika’s symptoms are similar to other more common illnesses that are going around Arizona now.  The symptoms of Zika can be similar to the flu or parainfluenza.

  5. 4 in 5 people who contract Zika won’t even realize they have been infected but it is unknown how long the virus stays in the body.

  6. One major concern from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that Zika may be dangerous to pregnant women and their unborn babies.

  7. Health officials say there is a potential connection between this recent outbreak of Zika and an increase in a condition called microcephaly in which babies are born with unusually small heads.  Recent data shows that in 2014 Brazil had just under 200 babies born with this serious and lifelong condition and in 2015 there were almost 3,000 cases.

  8. Right now, Zika has been detected in 20 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean. The CDC has issued a travel advisory for pregnant women traveling to these countries.

  9. It is important to note that while Zika infection has been reported in travelers returning to the United States, there have been no reports of anyone getting Zika from a mosquito in this country.  However, if a mosquito was to bite someone with the Zika virus, it can potentially be a threat to others.

  10. Currently there is no vaccine or cure for Zika, so if you have traveled to any of the countries listed on the CDC website and are experiencing the prior mentioned symptoms, please see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

AllKids Urgent Care has clinics in both Mesa and Gilbert off the US60. Both locations are open from noon to 10 pm every day. Click here for more information on how our pediatric urgent care helps kids with illness and injury.

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