The Zika virus is an emerging infectious disease that is influenced by microbial adaptation and change, as well as travel (DeMarco & Healey-Walsh, 2020). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2019), the Zika virus can manifest in various symptoms, including fever, rash, headache, joint pain, conjunctivitis, and muscle pain. Based on the list of symptoms provided by my neighbor, it is possible that she may be infected with the virus. The main mode of transmission is through mosquitoes that carry the virus, with a bite effectively transmitting the virus into the bloodstream. However, it is also important to note that the virus can be transmitted sexually and through blood transfusion, as it can remain in the body for some time and affect individuals in different ways, sometimes without any visible signs or symptoms.
It is crucial for my neighbor to see a doctor immediately, as the Mayo Clinic (2018) identifies risks of miscarriages associated with the Zika virus. Although the symptoms typically go away after a week of rest and hydration, the virus presents a significant risk to the fetus, as it can cause microcephaly, a potentially fatal congenital brain condition (Mayo Clinic, 2018). Moreover, it can also lead to other neurological disorders that may have detrimental effects on the developing fetus. Complications and defects such as reduced body movement due to excessive muscle tone after birth, eye damage, joint problems, brain damage, and reduced brain tissue are among the potential outcomes of Zika virus infection in a child (Mayo Clinic, 2018).
To confirm the presence or absence of the virus, conducting a blood test is recommended, as the virus usually remains in the bloodstream for approximately a week. It is important to note that there is currently no known treatment for the Zika virus, which emphasizes the significance of prevention. Pregnant women, in particular, should avoid traveling to areas associated with the virus, as it can have various complications on fetal development.
In conclusion, the Zika virus is an infectious disease that poses significant risks, particularly to pregnant women and their developing fetuses. It is transmitted through mosquitoes, sexual contact, and blood transfusion, and it can potentially cause microcephaly and other neurological disorders in infants. Prevention, such as avoiding travel to affected areas, is crucial, as there is currently no known treatment for the virus. If someone suspects they may have been infected, it is important to seek medical attention promptly and consider a blood test to confirm the presence or absence of the virus.