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What you need to know about the Zika Virus

  • Posted by: Laura Matthews
  • Posted Date: February 9, 2016
  • Filed Under: Library News

Barbara Quintiliano, Nursing/Life Sciences & Instructional Services Librarian, shared important information about the Zika virus on the Nursing blog and we thought we would share it here, too.

Video from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
Zika, a New Threat. What Is It (in Spanish with English subtitles)



Excerpt from Zika virus spreads across Americas as concerns mount over birth defects. (2015). BMJ, 315, h6983.

Zika’s rapid geographic spread would be causing less concern to public health authorities were it not for worrying evidence that the disease is less benign than initially thought. Hundreds of cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome have sprung up in the wake of Zika infection, but it is an explosion of microcephaly among infants born to infected women that has caused Brazil to declare Zika a “public health emergency of national importance.”


Basic info on Zika:
According to PAHO, “Zika fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease caused by Zika virus (ZIKV), consisting of mild fever, rash (mostly maculo-papular), headaches…and non-purulent conjunctivitis, occurring about three to twelve days after the mosquito vector bite. One out of four people may develop symptoms, but in those who are affected the disease is usually mild with symptoms that can last between two and seven days. Its clinical manifestation is often similar to dengue, also a mosquito-borne illness.”

There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for Zika virus infection. Therefore, treatment for everyone, including pregnant women, is directed at alleviating symptoms.

Factsheet from the World Health Organization (WHO) can be viewed here:

How does Zika virus affect pregnant women and fetuses?

Fetuses exposed in utero to the Zika virus are at risk for microcephaly, a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. Babies with microcephaly can suffer from various problems, such as developmental delay, intellectual disability, hearing loss, and vision problems.

Click here to read more on microcephaly.

Travel Alert from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
The CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant. These women should consider postponing visits to countries currently affected by Zika virus transmission. Included are the countries of Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Click here to read more on CDC precautions.

The CDC has created a webpage devoted entirely to the Zika Virus. Click here to view the page.

Click here to view journal articles available on the topic of the Zika Virus outbreak (Click “find it” to check for full text availability.)

FML164_BarbaraQuintiliano_011_EDIT2-150x150Written by Barbara Quintiliano, Nursing/Life Sciences & Instructional Services Librarian.





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Last Modified: February 9, 2016

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