Jan. 14, 2016 UPDATE: This NY Times report explains is why it’s SO IMPORTANT to eliminate mosquito breeding sites in & around our Merida and Yucatan homes: Zika is carried by the same Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry Dengue and Chikungunya.
STOP ZIKA now … because it causes microencephaly (tiny heads) for babies in the womb.
STOP ZIKA now … before it gets a foothold here.
Sept. 18, 2015 ~ Dec. 12 update ~
Time to add a new dot to the map. ~ Zika virus is in Yucatan. ~
Zika virus is spread to people through Aedes aegypti mosquito bites. Zika virus disease (Zika) most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eye. Symptoms are usually mild, lasting from several days to a week. Severe symptoms requiring hospitalization are uncommon.
Does this sound like any fever-disease(s) you already know?
Unfortunately, Zika presents very much like Dengue and Chikungunya.
Right… You just learned how to say “Chik” -“coon” – “Goon” – “ya” … and another Aedes aegypti borne virus pops-up.
There is no vaccine to prevent nor medicine to treat Zika. Protect yourself from this disease by preventing Aedes Aegypti mosquito bites: Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens ~ especially in the morning ~ as that is when Aedes Aegypti females are most actively feeding.
Treatment for Zika is the same as for Chikungunya and Dengue Viruses: No aspirin, no NSAIDs (Advil, ibuprofen, Advil etc), rest, stay hydrated, and watch for serious symptoms (esp. symptoms of during low platelets**) during Days 4 – 6 of the fever.
Because Zika/Dengue/Chikungunya patients with fevers can infect female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, if someone comes down with the symptoms, it is very important to spray the house 3 times to kill all mosquitoes, to prohibit mosquitoes from infecting your family, household members, or neighbors.
It’s also worth noting that people with fevers and Dengue/Chikungunya/Zika virus symptoms, SHOULD NOT DRINK ALCOHOL. Many patients with Chikungunya fevers also have significant liver inflammation, as shown by seriously elevated liver enzymes – often 3X above normal levels. Physicians are saying ~ no alcohol ~ for 6 months to 1 year, because alcohol causes even more liver damage, when the liver is already inflamed.
Since Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue viruses have so many of the same symptoms, it’s important to treat potential Zika infections just like the more dangerous Chikungunya & Dengue virus infections. **Dengue infections can sometimes proceed to very serious bleeding into the gut (vomiting congealed blood like coffee grounds – or passing black stools) or bleeding from the eyes or profuse bleeding from the gums or nose … Chikungunya & Dengue infections both can proceed to seriously low platelet counts:
**So WATCH FOR nasty (“thrombocytopenia”) low platelet symptoms during Days 4-6 of the disease … and GO TO A HOSPITAL for treatment if you have these symptoms …
Low platelet count symptoms include:
- Easy or excessive bruising (purpura)
- Superficial bleeding into the skin that appears as a rash of pinpoint-sized reddish-purple spots (petechiae), usually on the lower legs.
- Prolonged bleeding from cuts.
- Bleeding from your gums or nose.
- Blood in urine or stools.
Because the patient may have dangerously low levels of platelets due to EITHER Dengue or Chikungunya virus infections … we should treat infections with Dengue or Chikungunya or Zika symptoms … with care and caution.
Since Zika is caused by the same Aedes aegypti mosquitoes as Dengue and Chikungunya virus, and because they have very similar symptoms, please read about Dengue and Dengue prevention … AND TAKE ACTION
… because Chikungunya can cause fatigue and joint pain that last months to years
… and Dengue sometimes proceeds to the dangerous symptoms of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF)
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We know of only two labs in Merida that can test for 2 of these viruses ~ Clinica de Merida ~ on Avenida Izaes ~ and the UADY Hideo Noguchi lab …
Know that the treatments are the same for all 3 diseases, so knowing which virus you have does not change your actions nor your treatments …
~ Also know that we should wait until at least Day 4 of infection to Day 6 of infection BEFORE getting tested, because our bodies do NOT make enough antibodies for the typical hospital lab serum (blood-antibody) tests to work.
Blood antibody tests made earlier than Day 4 likely INCORRECTLY report that you have no Dengue/Chikungunya/Zika virus.
Finally … Zika virus cases have been sporadically confirmed on & off for the past 3(?) months in Merida, but they were so few that it was unclear whether they were coming in with tourists/travellers – or whether Zika was here to stay (endemic) from entering our Aedes aegypti Yucatan mosquito population. … Based on recent Zika patients: It looks like Zika might be endemic (might be here to stay) … and may be approaching epidemic levels – but there is no laboratory test confirmations of this.
~ But because Zika symptoms are so similar to Dengue & Chikungunya virus infections, that achy joint, feverish, and achy muscles you had these past 3(?) months, may actually have been Zika – especially if you had only a few days of symptoms.
Keep your racquet at the ready … Keep your screens in good condition …
… and eliminate even table-spoon-sized mosquito breeding sites from inside and outside your house …
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Feel free to copy with proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry
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