Zika has been making international headlines since early 2016, and anxiety surrounding the mosquito-borne virus continues to grow. To help keep you up-to-date, we've put together some general information about the Zika virus, as well as prevention tips and links to helpful resources.
While most cases of Zika in the US have been linked to people who traveled to countries where the virus was active, there is a possibility of locally acquired cases within the southeast, including the Carolinas.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women, and women who wish to become pregnant, to avoid all areas where the Zika virus is present, including:
Many people with Zika virus won’t even know they have it. Common symptoms appear within two weeks of traveling to an area with Zika and can include:
However, 80 percent of people do not display any symptoms. Zika normally doesn’t cause severe illness or death, but researchers are still learning about its long-term effects, including birth defects in children born to mothers who have the virus.
Because there isn’t a vaccine or drug to prevent or treat Zika virus, it’s best to avoid mosquito bites altogether if you are traveling to at-risk countries. If you must travel, take the following precautions:
Because Zika also can be passed on through sex with someone with the virus, always use protection during sexual activity. Pregnant women should avoid sexual contact or use protection for the duration of the pregnancy if their partner traveled to a country with Zika virus.
The following information is available for those who want to learn more about Zika virus:
Carolinas Poison Center, which is administered by Carolinas HealthCare System, has set up a public health helpline for North Carolina residents with specific questions or concerns about Zika at 1-844-440-6532.