For the past weeks, various news about the Zika virus have been in the spotlight all over the world.
The latest addition is the confirmation last Friday, January 15, of a baby born with brain damage which may have been linked to a Zika virus infection.
According to the Hawaii State Department of Health, the baby’s mom stayed in Brazil last May 2015 while she was pregnant; there’s a possibility that the baby was infected in utero during that time.
In the statement, officials made clear that neither the mother nor the baby are infectious.
“We are saddened by the events that have affected this mother and her newborn,” DOH State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said in the confirmation statement. “This case further emphasizes the importance of the CDC travel recommendations released today. Mosquitos can carry serious diseases, as we know too well with our current dengue outbreak and it is imperative that we all Fight the Bite by reducing mosquito breeding areas, avoiding places with mosquitos, and applying repellant as needed.”
They further clarified in their statement that though there have been six reported cases of Zika virus in Hawaii, all of these people acquired the infection while they were traveling abroad.
For those traveling to countries with reported Zika virus cases such as Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and El Salvador, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released information about the basics of the virus and precautions to be taken when traveling abroad.
Although it has not been fully concluded that Zika virus has been responsible for these alarming cases of brain damage in newborns, Dr. Lyle Peterson, director of the CDC clarified that the suspicion is strong enough for them to issue guidelines.
Zika virus spreads much like dengue: from person to person and through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.
As of this writing, there has yet to be a vaccine for the Zika virus. This makes taking necessary precautions against mosquito bites all the more important.
Currently, it was made official that Hawaii is suffering from an outbreak of dengue fever.
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