Many travelers are getting worried as news about the zika virus has become a hot topic during the last few days. But should one really be worried? We’ll look at what has been presented so far.
The virus itself is not malignant, what is worrying to the doctors is the relationship that it seem to have to other illnesses. The zika virus is transmitted through a mosquito called ”Aedes Aegypti”. This is the same mosquito that transmits the dengue and chikingunya virus. The virus can be carried in a person’s blood, then passed to others by mosquito bites. Being infected will usually make you ill for 3 to 7 days and cause itchy skin and fever.
Doctors now believe that there is direct correlation between pregnant women being infected with the zika virus and recent new borns with microcefalia.
Microcefalia causes babys to be born with a smaller head than usual, resulting in severe brain damage as the brain does not have space to grow into normal capacity.
Therefore women in Brazil who have been infected with the virus are being told postpone getting pregnant for at least six months. Other countries such as Colombia has adverted women from becoming pregnant overall. More than 3800 cases of microcefalia has occured in in 21 different states in Brazil so far. Most of the cases has been in Pernabuco, Paraiba and Bahia.
In the state of Rio de Janeiro close to 4000 people have been infected with the zika virus according to BBC Brasil and there has been around 170 cases of microcefalia according to Globo.
Pregnant women in Brazil are being told to wear long clothing and use mosquito spray to avoid being stung by mosquitos. Tourists who are not pregnant should naturally still be prudent, but remembering that the virus is not life threatening and will most likely only cause a few days in bed if one is infected.
So should you be worried? The answer is as far we understand (we are by no mean medical experts on this topic) that if you are pregnant or plan a pregnancy in the near future, Brazil might not be your next holiday destination. But for the rest of you, come to Brazil, its a lovely country, try no to get zika by using OFF spray and if you by an unfortunate circumstance catch the virus, its not worse than a bad winter flu with some extra itching. But of all the places you can travel to in the world, there will always be some sort of risk involved of getting sick. But Zika is not a serious illness unless you are pregnant.