It’s been all over the news lately, but I’m sure you’re wondering, what’s the real deal with the Zika virus? As of today, there are currently 9 reported diagnoses of Zika Virus in Florida and Rick Scott, Florida’s governor, has declared a state of emergency. At Advanced Imaging Centers, our patients are primarily from Florida so we know this hits home for our center. We’ve made a quick break down of all the information you need to know about this surprise virus affecting our home.

So, what IS the Zika Virus?

Zika is a disease that is primarily spread by an infected Aedes mosquito’s bite. According to CDC, the symptoms of the disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. These symptoms do not usually last long and typically dissipate after a few days. It is rare that people are hospitalized from their symptoms and it is extremely rare that a person will actually die from the virus.

Then, what’s the big deal?

If people experience mild symptoms, rarely are hospitalized, and it isn’t fatal, why is this alarming? The reason this disease is causing waves of hysteria is because pregnant women that are infected with the Zika Virus have a high chance of microcephaly. In Brazil, there are high reports of Zika virus and high reports of microcephaly. According to reports from the CDC, “It’s a circumstantial link because these two things are occurring at the same time — but it is not very clear whether the virus alone is causing the birth defect or not.” However, pregnant women in Zika Virus prone areas seem to be at higher risks.

What is Microcephaly?

Many are referring to microcephaly as the “shrunken head syndrome”. As with all newborns, the brain and the head develop and grow simultaneously. However, Microcephaly inhibits the brain’s growth, which results in an imbalance. This imbalance leaves the baby’s head smaller and the brain damaged. According to BCH, Microcephaly results in varying degrees of the following: learning disabilities, impaired motor functions, difficulty with balance/movement, speech delays, short stature, facial deformities, and even seizures. This is a very serious condition that is alarming people all over globe.

Why is it just now popping up in Florida?

Florida is the hub of traveling and cruises are constantly departing/arriving from other countries. According to ABC news, the nine reported cases in Florida are travel related. This means that people are being affected abroad and traveling back into the U.S. with the virus. On the positive side of this, there hasn’t been a single report of a U.S. mosquito infecting a person while being in the U.S. However, there was recently a reported case of the virus being sexually transmitted in Texas.

Should I be worried?

To the Florida reader, Rick Scott is not taking the issue lightly. He is prepared and staying on top of the situation to minimize any further spreading of the virus. According to ABC, Rick stated, “Our Department of Health will continue to be in constant communication with all county health offices, hospitals and the CDC…We hope for the best.” We know Florida is dealing with a health crisis and want to make sure you know what’s going on. At Advanced Imaging Centers, we’ve got our hopes high and our fingers crossed.