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What you need to know about the Zika virus

Zika VirusDon’t cancel that safari just yet! The media has a way of causing wide spread pandemonium. Remember Ebola? Everyone is talking about the Zika virus right now, and this topic is particularly important for pregnant women currently, so here are a few take home points I thought everyone should know about it:

  • Zika virus is transmitted mainly by mosquitos; it can also be transmitted from male to female during intercourse as it is present in semen after infection for an unknown amount of time. It was first discovered in the 1940s and has been circulating in Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands for years. It has recently become more of a hot topic due to the link to birth defects and miscarriages when pregnant women are infected with the virus, and it’s movement is being monitored more closely now by the CDC
  • There have been no Zika viral infections reported as occurring from being bitten by a mosquito here in the continental United States, although there have been cases reported in several states from citizens who have traveled outside of the country to affected areas and come back with the virus
  • The symptoms of Zika viral infection usually include fevers, rash, joint pain and red eyes, and typically occur several days to a week after infection
  • It is typically a very mild illness that we wouldn’t even test for in most cases; The majority of people don’t require hospitalization or even a doctor visit for this infection
  • We care right now because there has been a link made between Zika viral infection in pregnancy and miscarriage and microcephaly- underdevelopment of an infant’s brain usually due to toxic exposure as a fetus, with developmental delays as well 
  • There is no vaccine currently available to prevent Zika virus infection
  • If you do plan to travel to an area affected by Zika virus (complete list available at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html ) make sure you use measures to prevent mosquito bites and if you develop any of the symptoms of Zika infection and are pregnant, seek medical attention right away.
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About Amanda Magrini

Amanda Magrini
Amanda Magrini, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician at Northern Nevada Medical Group’s Los Altos location in Sparks. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada, Reno and her medical training at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. Dr. Magrini has practiced family medicine for seven years, including residency, and enjoys her specialty, because she likes taking care of the whole family, from newborns to grandparents. She likes preventative medicine, helping people take care of themselves and the relationships she is able to form with her patients. Dr. Magrini grew up in Sparks, NV and likes that it is a safe place to live with great educational opportunities and beautiful scenery. She thinks Northern Nevada is a great place to raise a family and looks forward to raising her own children here. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, boating, running and traveling the world. Dr. Magrini is also very close with her family; she is married to her high school sweetheart and values spending time with him and the rest of her family. Disclosure: "The author is a licensed physician practicing with Northern Nevada Medical Group, but all opinions expressed are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Northern Nevada Medical Group or any other affiliates of Universal Health Services, Inc."

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