What is the response of healthcare providers to Zika virus in a highly endemic population in primary care?—TENA JORDAN, FNP, Houston
Healthcare professionals should be educated about the hallmark signs and symptoms of Zika virus and advise their patients about precautions to take. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis and can also include muscle pain and headache. Pregnant women should protect themselves from mosquitoes and avoid traveling to regions where the Zika virus is present. In addition, men who travel to areas where the Zika virus is present or who have pregnant sexual partners should either abstain from sex or use condoms during sex. The use of EPA-registered insect repellents can help prevent mosquito bites.
The CDC has released clinical guidelines for the evaluation, clinical manifestation, diagnosis, and treatment algorithm of the zika virus for healthcare professionals. As it currently stands, there is no vaccine or prophylactic treatment that is available, but the first vaccine is in the pipeline. Clinicians should educate their patients on infection control, personal protection, and prevention against contracting the illness. These simple precautions may help prevent patients from contracting the illness as well as the potential birth defects that could result.
Valuable resources include the following:
- CDC. Zika virus. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/zika/hc-providers/index.html (Accessed July 18, 2016).
- World Health Organization. Zika virus fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/ (Accessed July 18, 2016)
—ABIMBOLA FARINDE, PhD, PharmD is a professor at Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach, Ala. (214-1)
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