The Zika virus has spread to 14 people in the United States and people are freaking out. But, the only people who should really freak out is pregnant women.
The Hot Zone got some exclusive details from practicing physician and medial journalist, Dr. Nina Radcliff about this sexually transmitted disease. Dr. Radcliff has spoken with numerous media outlets such as Fox News about her medical insights.
The disease is said to cause a paralyzing condition called Guillan-Barre syndrome.
Q: What exactly is the prognosis and symptoms of the Zika virus?
Dr. Radcliff: Four out of five people have no symptoms whatsoever. And most have mild symptoms –headache, red eyes, fever–that typically do not require hospitalization. It is also believed that it can cause Guillaine Barre a rare neurological disease where the body’s own immune system attacks its nerves. This can cause temporary paralysis requiring hospitalization. What we are hearing about is the effects it can have on babies of pregnant women. It has been linked to microcephaly–small heads and developmental delays. And that is why The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a travel advisory to pregnant women and women trying to conceive.
Q: Where are the most affected areas?
Dr. Radcliff: Caribbean countries, South and Central American countries, Mexico and pacific islands. One country in particular that is of special concern is Brazil because it will be the host to the summer Olympics this year. The CDC website has a complete list. If you are planning travel, please check for up to date information.
Q: Is there a life-threatening risk after catching the Zika virus?
Dr. Radcliff: Unlike Ebola or malaria, most will have mild symptoms and will not be life-threatening.
Q: Do you think there’s enough researching being done current day about the Zika virus?
Dr. Radcliff: It is kicking into high gear. We have know about Zika for decades but it was not until recently that there was a link to microcephaly. And this is what is spurning concern and in some cases panic. We are trying to determine if in fact it does cause microcephaly, and if so, how; how long does it last in bodily fluids such as saliva and semen; and vaccine development. At this time they are in works to develop a vaccine, on an expedited basis. And simultaneously countries are working on mosquito eradication efforts.
Q: When a pregnant moment is infected with the Zika virus, is it more likely to affect the baby or the mother?
Dr. Radcliff: In most women they will have no symptoms or mild. The concern is for the baby and that it may cause microcephaly and a lifetime of developmental delays.
Dr. Schaffner of Vanderbilt University made a bold statement, in which he says the mosquito is the most dangerous animal on the planet. We asked Dr. Radcliff if she shared that same notion, “Malaria, Dengue Virus, West Nile, Chikungunya….yes I would say it is the deadliest insect on the planet,” Radcliff joked. The Aedes mosquito is the one that is responsible for the Zika Virus
That being said, we’re hoping we bring Zika affected areas as soon as possible