The Zika virus outbreak
The infamous Zika virus has been making international headlines lately as multiple cases of the virus have been surfacing around the world.
So far, these cases have been most prevalent in Central and South America, where there has been an outbreak over the last few months. This outbreak became known when surges of babies were being born with severe birth defects in Brazil, due to their mothers having been infected by the Zika Virus. After which, there have been numerous reports of people in neighbouring countries being infected, with reports seeming to be travelling up from South America, through Central America and the into the US.
Anxiety is mounting locally, as many South Africans may be wondering whether it is coming to our shores anytime soon.
Well, the first official case of the Zika virus has finally hit South Africa and it was one of the doctors of Doctors On Call who has diagnosed and treated the first case of the virus in South Africa.
Firstly, let us take a quick recap of what the Zika virus is.
What is the Zika Virus?
The Zika virus is the virus that is mainly transmitted through being bitten by a certain species of mosquito- the Aedes mosquito. This mosquito species has also been responsible for the spread of other viruses (Chikungunya and Dengue viruses).
It is believed that the mosquito is able to spread the virus by biting an infected person and then biting another. It has been believed that the virus has not been directly contagious from person to person through basic contact. However, recent reports state that an infected person through sexual intercourse can transmit the disease.
Doctors on call, Dr Lance Josselson, diagnoses first case
When a Columbian businessman arrived in SA from his native country, he was already suffering from a fever during his flight over to South Africa, on Friday 11th February 2016. He reported that a rash then presented on Sunday 15th February 2016. It was then that he contacted Doctors on Call. Dr Lance Josselson was the doctor on call assigned to treat him.
After the initial examination, Dr Josselson suspected that the cause of the patient’s symptoms was the Zika virus. The patient’s blood and urine samples were immediately sent off for analysis at a local private laboratory. Later in that week, the results of those blood and urine samples showed the Zika virus infection was confirmed s later in the week.
Dr Josselson advised that the patient should take protection that is more extensive from mosquitoes to prevent further infections to those around him. Sexual intercourse was also discouraged as the virus can potentially be spread by sex and through blood transfusions.
Here are some of the common Symptoms of the Zika Virus
If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to seek medical attention, (especially if you are a pregnant woman)
• Conjunctivitis (Red Eyes)
• Joint Pain,
• Muscle Pains
Note: Only one in five people infected with the virus will display symptoms and some symptoms are usually mild enough for many to forego a medical check-up. Without being too paranoid, it is worth having a test performed if you have recently visited one of the above-mentioned regions of the world, where the disease is prevalent.
As of yet, there is no vaccine or cure for the virus but measures can be taken to treat the symptoms as well as prevent further infections.
A professional health care provider can advise you on the medications to take. Call Doctors On Call, your house call doctor, if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above.