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10 Common Symptoms of Zika Virus

Do you need another reason to dislike mosquitos? Mosquito bites can cause many more problems than just making you itch! The Zika Virus is spread through mosquito bites. Fortunately, the Zika Virus is rare, with less than 1,000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States. However, the Centers for Disease Control issued an alert for travel to areas where the Zika Virus is spreading. Pregnant travelers or those considering pregnancy should consult a doctor.

In most cases of the Zika Virus, you do not experience symptoms. Otherwise, symptoms are usually mild and last less than one week. But Zika can become serious and even prompt paralysis. Also, it can cause birth defects for children born to women with the virus. There is not a vaccine for the Zika Virus. Instead, doctors focus on relieving symptoms through rest, hydration, and medications for fever and pain.

Symptom 1: Rash

The Zika Virus can cause an itchy rash that spreads all over your body. The rash can create a burning sensation.

According to an NBC News article about a man with the Zika Virus, “The man's Zika infection started with a headache. Within a day, a red rash formed on his hands and arms and spread to his body. By the third day, the rash had moved all the way down his body and his feet were on fire.”

Symptom 2: Red Eyes

Do you have bloodshot eyes? Conjunctivitis or red eyes? What about pain in the back of your eyes?

According to a Chicago Tribune article, “Doctors in Brazil report that a man infected with Zika developed a potentially severe eye condition, in another sign that the dreaded virus can harm vision in both babies and adults. The patient, who was in his early 40s, recovered from the condition called uveitis, a kind of inflammation in the eye. But the condition can lead to cataracts and high blood pressure in the eye, said report lead author Dr. Joao Furtado, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the University of Sao Paulo.”

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Symptom 3: Fever

Do you have a fever? Fevers caused by the Zika Virus are similar to dengue fever, because the same type of mosquito carries both.

Within 1-2 days of being infected with the Zika Virus, some people experience a mild fever.

Symptom 4: Headache

Does your head hurt? But you’re not sure why?

Usually, the first symptom you experience with the Zika Virus is a headache, especially one that includes pain behind your eyes. The headache can last up to a week.

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Symptom 5: Joint Pain

Do your knees, fingers, feet, wrists, and ankles seem stiff? Painful? Swollen?

The Zika Virus can cause joint pain. The pain can spread to your muscles, as well.

Symptom 6: Lower Back Pain

Do you have pain n your lower back? This is a classic symptom of the Zika Virus.

According to an article by Scientific American about a Zika Virus patient, “By the time the 48-year-old man showed up at a clinic in New York City he had been sick for almost two weeks. A blotchy, red rash still blanketed his torso and his body ached. He had just gotten over a triple-digit fever, intense lower back pain and a painful eye infection. Five weeks earlier he had embarked on a long vacation to South America and Polynesia but during his trip he had felt fine. He had hopscotched from country to country until he capped his stint through French Polynesia with a trip to Mooréa, an island about 16 kilometers northwest of Tahiti. The South Pacific paradise was teeming with some hungry mosquitos. But he wasn’t worried about the bites. He knew he was up on all his travel vaccinations.”

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Symptom 7: Paralysis (Guillain-Barré Syndrome)

When the Zika Virus turns serious is when it causes paralysis, and possibly Guillain-Barré Syndrome, where your immune system attacks your nerves.

According to NBC News, “When the incidence of Zika virus disease increased, so did the incidence of the Guillain–Barré syndrome. Doctors are fairly certain that Zika can cause Guillain-Barré syndrome, a little understood reaction in which the immune system attacks the nerves. It can cause temporary but often severe paralysis.”

Symptom 8: Birth Defects

Babies from pregnant women infected with the Zika Virus can suffer birth defects, including smaller heads, under-developed brains, and limited joint and muscle movement.

According to NPR, 51 babies born in the United States in 2016 had Zika-related birth defects, and stated: “Of those women with laboratory evidence of Zika virus, there were 77 reported pregnancy losses and 51 babies born with birth defects, including 43 babies with microcephaly or brain abnormalities. Other babies had eye abnormalities or neural tube defects.”

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Symptom 9: Fatigue

Are you extremely tired? So tired that you are unable to complete simple and basic tasks? Fatigue is a symptom of the Zika Virus.

According to a story from ABC News, “…Lizzie Morales, of Houston, Texas, who told ABC's Houston station KTRK-TV that she was infected with Zika when she was in El Salvador to visit family for Christmas. She said initially the fatigue made doing even simple tasks difficult. ‘You have no strength or energy to sit down. You just want to lay down and sleep,’ she said.”

Symptom 10: Loss of Appetite/Vomiting

The Zika Virus can definitely impact your stomach.

It causes a loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and other digestive issues.

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