News / Health

    US Health Officials Issue Guidelines to Deal with Zika Virus

    A researcher holds a container with female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at the Biomedical Sciences Institute in Sao Paulo University, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Jan. 18, 2016. The Aedes aegypti is a vector for transmitting the Zika virus.
    A researcher holds a container with female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at the Biomedical Sciences Institute in Sao Paulo University, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Jan. 18, 2016. The Aedes aegypti is a vector for transmitting the Zika virus.

    U.S. health officials have issued new guidance for women who might have been exposed to the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne infection that can cause brain damage in a developing fetus.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday warned that the virus is spread through mosquito bites, and there are no vaccines to prevent the spread nor drugs to treat those infected.

    The agency issued a warning to pregnant women to avoid travel to 14 countries and territories in the Caribbean and Latin America affected by the virus. Those countries are Puerto Rico, Martinique, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Brazil, Colombia, French Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Mexico.

    It said that while there is no evidence to suggest that pregnant women are more susceptible to Zika virus infection, they can be infected in any trimester. 

    "We are quite concerned about the potential complications to the fetus of a Zika virus infection of pregnant women, and so we really are advising that pregnant women seriously consider postponing travel to these areas if possible," said Dr. Beth Bell of the CDC.

    Exposure, repellents, screens

    Pregnant women traveling to impacted areas should take precautions to limit their exposure to mosquitoes, the agency said.

    A health worker fumigates the Altos del Cerro neighbourhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador, Jan. 21, 2016.
    A health worker fumigates the Altos del Cerro neighbourhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador, Jan. 21, 2016.

    "Mosquitoes bite not just at night, but also during the day,” Bell said. “And so the measures that people need to take to prevent mosquito bites, they have to use all the time, not just at night."

    Travelers also are advised to stay in places with screens on their doors and windows, wear protective clothing and use insect repellents such as DEET.

    The virus has been linked to a rising number of cases of microcephaly, a condition associated with small head size and brain damage. Brazil and Colombia lead the countries with the most reported infections, but it is spreading rapidly in neighboring countries.

    Last week, U.S. health authorities confirmed the birth of a baby with microcephaly in Hawaii to a mother who had been infected with the Zika virus while visiting Brazil last year.

    The CDC urged doctors to ask pregnant women about their travel history. Women who have traveled to regions in which Zika is active and who report symptoms during or within two weeks of travel should be offered a test for Zika virus infection.

    Zika unknowns

    The symptoms for Zika include mild fever and rash. An estimated 80 percent of people infected with the virus have no symptoms at all, making it difficult for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected.

    Bell stressed that there are still many unknowns about the Zika virus.

    "This is an emerging situation, it's an emerging virus and things are definitely going to change," she said.

    Scientists first discovered the virus in Uganda in 1947 while studying monkeys, and isolated it in the 1950s in a human in Nigeria. But medical historians say confirmed cases were rare until 2007, when an outbreak was identified in the South Pacific Federated States of Micronesia.

    Ahead of the current Latin America crisis, cases have been identified in Polynesia, Easter Island, the Cook Islands and New Caledonia.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Lou from: Atlanta
    January 22, 2016 8:33 AM
    What about antibiotics? The article didn't mention the use or effectiveness of antibiotics.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora