The latest medical issue placing the public on alert is the Zika virus. It started late last month when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued travel guidelines to the most affected countries, mainly in Central and South America. Now residents in the United States are taking a closer look at exactly what the Zika virus is, how it is contracted and just how dangerous it can be.
Humans contract the Zika Virus mainly through bites from infected mosquitos. Transmission through sexual contact and blood transfusions is also becoming a concern. The virus had rarely been seen in the Western Hemisphere until last year when a large number of cases showed up in Brazil. Now, the World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency on an international level in regards to the Zika virus. While most infected people only suffer with a fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes for a short period of time, the primary concern is for pregnant women infected with the disease.
Medical professionals are looking for the connection between pregnant women who have the Zika virus and babies born with microcephaly, a condition in which a child is born with a head smaller than average for the baby’s size and a possible small brain. This birth defect can lead to developmental delays. The concern began in October when doctors saw a large increase of babies born with microcephaly in northern Brazil. Since more research needs to be done, pregnant women in the affected regions are being told to take extra caution to prevent being bit by an infected mosquito.
As for the United States, 4 out of the 36 confirmed cases of the Zika virus so far are pregnant woman, including one in New York City. All of those affected appear to have contracted the disease while out of the country. In addition, since mosquitos are dormant in the winter, officials feel an outbreak in the States during this time is unlikely. However, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are among the list of countries and territories included in the CDC’s travel advisory.
When the public becomes aware of an unfamiliar or foreign medical condition such as the Zika virus, many questions and fears are going to arise. Wondering if your doctor knows how to identify and treat such an illness is a valid concern. A misdiagnosis of a potential serious illness could lead to severe consequences. If you or a family member has suffered due to a medical misdiagnosis, contact a knowledgeable attorney at Finz & Finz, P.C., to help secure the compensation you deserve.