The Zika outbreak continues to spread across the U.S. An outbreak began in Brazil, in April, 22015 resulting in the recent pandemic. It is spread primarily by infected mosquitoes, but can also be spread through sexual activity, blood transfusion from mothers to fetus.
People who are infected have few, if any symptoms of infection. They are typically mild and last a few days. Symptoms can be back pain, muscle pain and headaches. Signs include fever, rash, and conjunctivitis. Pregnant women may not show any signs, but may still be infected and transmit the infection to the baby in utero.
If a pregnant woman is infected with Zika during pregnancy, the baby may have severe nervous system damage or brain malformations. Adults or children infected with the Zika may develop Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a progressive nervous system disease. Currently, there is no treatment for Zika infection, although many of the symptoms can be managed with palliative care. Patients can control symptoms with rest, staying hydrated and avoiding (NSAIDS). Patients can be counseled to wear repellent, clothing, and window screens.
Doctors of chiropractic should ask all pregnant patients about their travel histories. They can work with other health care providers and the CDC to help educate patients about preventing Zika infection. We must be aware of the risks associated with patients contracting Zika, and the symptoms and signs.