Travelers to South America Beware the Explosively Spreading Zika Virus

If you’re planning to visit South America, you’re being warned to change your plans. The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) has just expressed worldwide alarm over the Zika virus, which is rapidly spreading throughout South American countries. In less than a year, more than 20 countries have reported people locally contracting the virus and exhibiting Zika virus symptoms. According to the global health agency, a whopping four million people may be infected by the Zika virus outbreak by the end of the year. The concern is so great that the Zika virus may be declared a public emergency in a matter of days.

A Closer View of the Virus

The Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and has the potential to cause birth defects. The focus of the fear is the area’s sharp surge in outbreaks of microcephaly, which is a birth defect in which infants are born with unusually small heads and some degree of brain damage.

Brazil has reported a rapidly rising number of babies born with the condition. And El Salvador has even warned its female residents to avoid getting pregnant until 2018.

While health officials are hesitant to directly attribute the outbreaks of microcephaly to the current Zika virus explosion, there are many signs of a link between these simultaneous incidents.

How to Handle Zika Virus Treatment

While there are currently no vaccines to treat or prevent the virus, there are a few options for Zika virus treatment. These include:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Getting a lot of rest.
  • Taking over-the-counter medicine like acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain, but only under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

Comfort and Caution for Americans

Since Zika virus symptoms have only been reported in South American countries, U.S. health officials are striving to reassure Americans that there is little risk of an outbreak in the United States. In addition, most people exposed to the virus never experience any Zika virus symptoms.

According to health officials, the average American not visiting this highly afflicted area has no need to worry. Yet Americans planning to travel to South American countries are advised to use caution before proceeding with their travel plans.

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