What are the Symptoms and Signs of Zika Virus Infections in Men and Women?

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Symptoms are basically what the infected individual experienced or noticed. Zika virus infection causes Zika fever, or Zika disease, about 80% of infected individuals will show mild or no symptoms.

The symptoms vary from individual to individual- men, women, pregnant women, babies, etc. Generally, symptoms may be mild but could be terrible if a pregnant woman gets the virus.

According to published researches, the virus has an incubation period of 3-12 days, and in more than 80% of cases, the symptoms are unnoticed. In the symptomatic individuals, symptoms appear three to twelve days following a bite from an infected mosquito. And it takes just a bite from the mosquito to get infected by the virus.

The initial symptoms include rash, conjunctivitis, fever, headache, joint pain, vomiting, pain around the eyes, etc. The spectrum of the zika infection often overlaps with other members of the Flaviviridae, but the maculopapular rash typically predominates in the disease manifestation.

The rash seen in the Zika virus infection is often a diffusely distributed maculopapular rash. The rash is usually noticed within two weeks of travel to a Zika virus endemic area, with the distribution of these rashes involving the face, trunk, upper and lower extremities, and also the palms and soles. The rash often resolves within days to weeks from the outset of the infection.

Aside from the rash, Zika may present with flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, muscle, and joint pain in adults and children. They tend to clear off within seven days after the onset of the symptoms. If transmission occurs during pregnancy, the developing fetus will be affected, resulting in miscarriage, stillbirth, or congenital disabilities.

Zika and pregnancy

Zika virus infections and pregnancy is a major concern and hence an essential topic for doctors and women. Many wonder what these symptoms are, is it similar to what is seen in the general population, or could it be more severe? Zika virus infection can be passed from a pregnant to her fetus.

The World Health Organization declared the Zika fever and Zika virus a global public health emergency. The declaration of Zika virus infection as a health emergency is specific to pregnant women and those looking to conceive and not the general public.

What are the symptoms and signs of Zika virus infection in pregnant women?

Zika virus in pregnant women may cause acute onset of fever, headache, rash, joint pain, muscle pain, enlarged lymph nodes, red eyes lasting 2-7 days. Zika fever has been linked to severe congenital disabilities like microcephaly, Gullian-Barré syndrome in the babies of infected mothers, and other congenital malformations, known as congenital zika syndrome.

The most severe and linked birth complication of zika virus infection in pregnancy is microcephaly. Microcephaly is a disorder characterized by lifelong disabilities, which include seizures, developmental delays, intellectual disability, vision problems, hearing loss, feeding problems, problems with movement and balance, and so much more.

The severity of symptoms of the microcephaly is typically related to the reduced size of the baby's head and brain. Many of the babies born with microcephaly may not have symptoms at birth but may develop problems later in life, such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and others. In some other cases, the child may develop normally with no severe complications.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention urges any pregnant woman returning from an endemic area to get tested within two weeks to twelve weeks upon her return. Those presenting with symptoms should get tested immediately. And lastly, for those residing in an endemic area should get tested during their first prenatal clinic visit and subsequently during pregnancy.