Fast Five Quiz: Are You Familiar With Conditions Responsible for Recent Outbreaks?

Richard H. Sinert, DO


January 18, 2018

Until recently, the mosquito was the only known vector for Zika virus transmission. As the infection spreads, new possible routes of transmission facilitating human-to-human spread of the virus without an intermediate vector have been discovered. The CDC has issued interim guidelines advising sexual abstinence or regular use of condoms to prevent the spread of Zika virus to sexual partners, especially during pregnancy. The CDC also advises that women with Zika virus infection should wait at least 8 weeks after any symptom onset before attempting to get pregnant. Asymptomatic women with a possible exposure (who have been in an area of active transmission) should also wait 8 weeks before attempting pregnancy. They suggest that men wait at least 6 months before attempting to conceive.

Zika virus infection is usually mild and self-limited. No specific treatment options are available for Zika virus infection. Supportive care with rest and adequate fluid hydration is advised. Symptoms such as fever and pain can be controlled with acetaminophen. Use of NSAIDs in patients with unconfirmed Zika virus infection should be avoided because the use of such drugs in dengue fever is associated with hemorrhagic risk.

The WHO recommends optimal supportive care in patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome, including frequent neurologic examinations, testing of vital signs, and respiratory function monitoring to decrease the likelihood of complications (eg, blood clots, respiratory failure). Patients whose symptoms are escalating rapidly or who are unable to walk should receive intravenous immunoglobulin therapy or therapeutic plasma exchange.

Currently, no prophylactic treatment or vaccine is available for the prevention of Zika virus infection, although phase 1 human trials of the Zika purified inactivated virus (ZPIV) vaccine have begun.

For more on the treatment and prevention of Zika virus, read here.


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