Did You Know About – Zika virus infection?

DID YOU KNOW… Zika is causing outbreaks in the Caribbean & Latin America?

FACT:  

Zika is a viral infection, transmitted by the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes (which bite in the daytime)

Zika causes a viral fever similar to dengue or chikungunya, with fever, body aches, headache and rash.

There have been media reports of Zika outbreaks occurring in Brazil and other countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

DID YOU KNOW… Zika infection during pregnancy may be linked to babies born with microcephaly?

FACT:  

Brazil has reported increased numbers of babies born with small heads, a condition known as microcephaly. They have linked this with Zika infection during pregnancy. However, to date, this has not been scientifically proven. Health authorities are reviewing the evidence and monitoring the situation.

There is currently no travel alert in Singapore advising against pregnant women travelling to countries with Zika infections, but mosquito-bite prevention is strongly recommended, as for all travellers.

DID YOU KNOW… there is no vaccine or antiviral medication against Zika?

FACT:  

There is currently no vaccine or antiviral medication against Zika virus infection.

However, most cases of Zika have very mild or even no symptoms.

DID YOU KNOW… different mosquito species transmit different infections?

FACT:  

Different mosquito species transmit different infections.

Malaria is transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes, Japanese encephalitis and West Nile encephalitis are spread by Culex mosquitoes. Both Anopheles and Culex mosquitoes bite at night, between dusk & dawn.

Aedes mosquitoes tend to bite in the daytime, and can transmit dengue and chikungunya infection.

In South America, Aedes bites can also spread yellow fever and now Zika virus infection.

DID YOU KNOW… preventing mosquito-bites helps reduce risk of Zika infection?

FACT:  

You can protect yourself from Zika infection by preventing mosquito-bites if you are travelling in a country where Zika infections are occurring. The following can help prevent mosquito-bites:

  • Wearing clothing that leaves less skin exposed for mosquito-bites
  • Spraying exposed skin with a mosquito-repellant spray that contains at least 20% DEET
  • Sleeping under mosquito nets or in rooms with wire-mesh screen to keep out mosquitoes, if possible

ASK YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT ZIKA

If you develop a fever within 1-2 weeks after returning from a country with Zika virus infections, do inform your doctor who can request appropriate testing, based on advice from the health authorities.

By A/Prof (Adj) Lim Poh Lian – Head, Travellers' Health & Vaccination Clinic (THVC)

26 January 2016