Recent scares over the Zika virus are bringing this to the headlines. The virus has actually been around since 1947, and has been found in humans since 1952. This has not been a public health issue in the US until recently as the virus is commonly found only in Africa, Asia, and the pacific islands. With more national travel this has been an issue.
The virus is spread primarily by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected from biting someone with the virus. It is also now known that the virus can be sexually transmitted, as well as transmitted through blood transfusion.
The symptoms of Zika virus include fever, muscle aches, headaches, and sometimes red eyes. Often this is not even diagnosed as the symptoms are mild and only last days to a week. Once a person has had the virus, they are presumed immune from the symptoms again. There is currently no vaccine or treatment. Find out more at www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html
Pertussis is the medical name for whooping cough. This is a bacterial infection that causes cold like symptoms that progress into severe coughing fits. This cough is often accompanied by a “whoop” sound, vomiting, and fatigue from the severity of the cough. This can also lead into chest wall pain or even broken ribs. If not diagnosed and treated, pertussis can last up to 3 months and only gradually improve.
Additionally, for small children and infants, there are risks of secondary complications such as pneumonia, low oxygen levels, brain disease, or even death.
Vaccination is available and required by public schools. These immunizations are given in 5 doses throughout childhood prior to age 6. Another booster is recommended at the time of adolescence, and for adults who are pregnant, working with children, or have not been previously vaccinated. Talk to your doctor about your individual needs. Find out more at www.cdc.gov/pertussis/index.html