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Preparing for the Zika Virus

April 8, 2016 ||

The World Health Organization recently declared the spread of the Zika Virus a global health emergency. We are on the heels of spring and we will soon see pesky mosquitoes all over Missouri. The following is what you need to know about the Zika Virus, and what you can do to be prepared for it.


The Zika Virus was first detected in Brazil in 2015 and had long circulated in Africa and Asia since 2007. The virus is relatively new to the Western Hemisphere and many people have been wondering why nothing’s been done about it yet. Normally symptoms of the Zika Virus are fairly mild. Fever and joint pain are the main symptoms. The issue many individuals are concerned about is Microcephaly.


Microcephaly is a rare condition in which newborns develop abnormally small heads and deformed brains. Over 1000 cases in Brazil have already been identified in which the mother had contracted the Zika Virus and the newborn was born with Microcephaly.


What do we need to do? The good news is mosquito control in the U.S. is better than in Latin America and has been relatively controlled in the U.S. already. What you can do is avoid traveling where the virus is prevalent (Latin America). When mosquito season comes around it’s important that we pay attention to the spread of the virus and how the U.S. has been controlling the spread. Currently Missouri looks in good position to avoid much spread of Zika. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take appropriate measures to make sure you are “covered” either by bug sprays or lotions with mosquito repellants.


Some prevention techniques for preventing the spread of diseases from mosquitoes can be:

  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Staying indoors with air conditioning
  • Using EPA-registered insect repellents
  • Ridding your property of standing water
  • Treating your clothes with bug repellents


Stay informed and covered and we all should have a safe and happy spring and summer.


Amber Brown Keebler, M.D. is a board certified internist and pediatrician and occasionally writes blogs and articles for Northwest Health Services.


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