Should You Be Worried about the Zika Virus?
I have never liked mosquitoes. Zika.
I mean, really. Why would we have such a creature? An insect that is literally a vampire and spreads disease from person to person and animals? Why? What is the point?
Plus, I happen to be one of those people who gets bitten more frequently than “normal” people, so I have a special vendetta against the things. No, really, did you know that's a thing? Some people get attacked by mosquitoes more than others, something about your blood type, sweat, and probably how much sugar you eat. Ahem.
But no matter what your personal feelings are on mosquitoes, if you're pregnant, you've probably heard of the Zika virus, and you're probably wondering what exactly your risks are. Let's take a look, shall we?
How likely are you to get the Zika virus?
Honestly, not likely at all. There have been ZERO cases of the virus actually acquired from within the good ol' United States of America. Only 52 people in the U.S. have gotten the virus at all, and that's because they got it from traveling to another country.
But what if I'm traveling?
Well, you might want to rethink your travel plans if you're planning a trip to Brazil, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands and you're pregnant, could become pregnant, or are actively trying to get pregnant.
What happens if I get the Zika virus while I'm pregnant?
The short answer is this: we're not exactly sure. The virus is passed from mom to baby if a mother gets the virus while she's pregnant, but scientists aren't 100% sure of what happens to her or the baby from the virus. There is an association between the virus and microcephaly (when a baby's head and brain develops abnormally small), but — and this is something I didn't totally know — the virus hasn't been proven to cause the microcephaly. So basically, we still aren't sure if it's the virus itself or some other link that causes the microcephaly.
What about Zika for non-pregnant people?
The good news is that Zika is generally a pretty mild condition in non-pregnant people and is similar to the flu that is accompanied by a high fever, a rash, and a general feeling of malaise. The CDC explains that the disease is pretty “mild” and only rarely do people die or even need to be hospitalized from the virus.
Are you concerned about the threat of the Zika virus?