Zika Will Kill You!

Ana Ramos, Staff Writer

Many people are choosing not to go to tropical countries because they fear a relatively new virus named Zika which has been getting a lot of attention lately. Now it’s spreading at an alarming rate and has reached the United States. The worrying factor is actually that people fail to understand what it really is, and what it really does to the ones infected. Here are the facts.

The Zika virus is a flavivirus, part of the same family as yellow fever, West Nile, chikungunya and dengue. But unlike some of those viruses, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika or medicine to treat the infection, says the World Health Organization. The usual symptoms include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise and/or headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days. In fact, 80% of the infected never know they have the disease, according to CNN.

So what is so scary and different about this virus? Zika has a connection to microcephaly, which is a neurological disorder that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads. It causes severe developmental issues and sometimes death. The virus can be transmitted through sex as well as through a mosquito called Aedes aegypti. In order not to contract it, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns us not to go to the countries affected, especially if one is pregnant or planning to get pregnant anytime soon.

However people shouldn’t chose not to go to all of those vacations spots just because they are afraid of this virus. There are things you can do to prevent getting bitten by a mosquito in the first place. This can be done by wearing clothes (preferably light-colored) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as window screens or closing doors and windows; sleeping under mosquito nets; and using insect repellent, says the World Health Organization.

The fact is, teens shouldn’t be so worried about Zika, like some are. A few months ago many were freaking out and joking around about this disease that they knew nothing of; and although it doesn’t directly affect us, scientists are trying their best to figure out a way to stop this virus. Until they do, everyone should just be careful and do what they can to stop this mosquito on their own. Just remember, Utah will most likely not be affected because the mosquitos live in tropical, subtropical, and in some temperate climates, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So relax!