World Health Organization Declares a State of Emergency Due to the Zika Virus in Panama and Around the World.
We have all seen the news stories bombarding our internet news sources, tv and newspapers. A little known mosquito born disease called Zika Virus has put the world on edge. The WHO has declared a State of Emergency and warns against traveling to 22 countries including our Panama.
What is the Zika Virus?
Zika virus is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and the genus Flavivirus, transmitted by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti. Its name comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947.
Zika Virus is Spreading in Central and South America.
What are the Symptoms of Zika Virus from the CDC?
- About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika).
- The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
- The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
- Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days but it can be found longer in some people.
- Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
- Deaths are rare.
- The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika.
- See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where Zika is found.
- If you have recently traveled, tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled.
- Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya.
- No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections.
- Treat the symptoms:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Take medicine such as acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain.
- Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen. Aspirin and NSAIDs should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding). If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
How to Protect Yourself in Panama Against Zika Virus.
- Sleep in screened rooms.
- Stay away from areas with standing water or remove the standing water.
- The Aedes mosquitoes are primarily active during the daytime.
- Apply mosquito repellents.
- Wear pants and long sleeves when you are in high risk areas.
- Wear light colored clothing.
- Sleep under a mosquito net if available.
- Don’t use perfume products in high risk areas.
What We Believe You Should Do in Panama.
The Zika Virus has come upon us like a deluge with all of the news coverage. What we recommend is the same steps that we mentioned above. We would be more worried about Dengue and Chinkungunya than Zika Virus unless of course you are in your first trimester of pregnancy or trying to get pregnant.
Be smart, take precautions and enjoy your trip to Panama and the other countries on the list. Don’t forget to see the Panama Tours we offer.