Zika virus is on the minds of many people in the U.S. today. What do you need to know? Eric Zgodzinski is the Director of Community and Health Services in Toledo Lucas County Health Department.
“First of all let’s not panic,” Zgodzinski said. “There’s things we can do to combat Zika just like we have other mosquito borne diseases.”
“We hear a lot about Zika not because it kills a lot of people or gets a lot of people sick, it's because it causes birth defects,” Zgodzinski said. “We are taking it seriously.”
How can you prevent Zika?
“What we’re going to do is deal with it like all mosquito borne diseases you have to take precautions,” Zgodzinski said. “If you’re going to be out during the time mosquitoes are most prevalent like dusk or dawn, wear long sleeves, long pants, and use repellents. Remove standing water from around your home, and repair your screens.”
“This is a large issue. We haven’t seen it in the United States yet. People that have traveled into areas where there is infection, have seen it. The CDC and everyone below them in the health field is really focused on if it does get here that we combat it appropriately.”
What are the symptoms of the Zika virus?
Mild, fever, red eyes, rash, and joint pain several days to a week after a bite.
“Right now we’re talking only about one in 5 people who become symptomatic so not that many,” Zgodzinski said.
When it comes to pregnant women what do we need to know?
“I think the thing that pulls on our heart strings is when you see those babies that have been effected with Zika and their heads so misshapen and the long term effect on their lives, really tug at us and I think that’s why this is such a big issue,” Zgodzinski said. “But the big thing is if moms think they are going to travel to those areas they need to take precautions or don’t travel. Same with dads, take precautions or don’t travel, but if you do, and you are going to have sexual intercourse, use a condom or abstain.”
“The travel recommendations are, if you’re pregnant you shouldn’t go into those areas, if you’re thinking becoming pregnant don’t go to those areas that are in the advisory zone,” Zgodzinski said. “And if you have to use precautions, use mosquito nets, repellant with deet, insecticide clothing you can use there, but again take every precaution.”