Zika virus spreads rapidly throughout the U.S. and into Kansas

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The Zika virus was a major deal during the Rio Olympics for some athletes, but now it may not just be the athletes who are worried.There have been outbreaks of Zika all over the world in places like Africa, Southeast Asia, Central and South America and now the United States.

A total of 11,351 confirmed cases of Zika have been found in the United States with 11 of those being in Kansas. Luckily those cases have all been travel-related, meaning, that those people traveled to a place where the mosquitoes were more prevalent and contracted it there, then brought it back to the Sunflower State. It’s becoming quite the scare thinking that Zika could be in Topeka’s backyard next.

Zika is a virus spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, and has been known to cause birth defects in pregnant women. Such defects include hearing loss, impaired growth, eye defects and the most severe, Microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads. These infants with Microcephaly often have smaller brains that haven’t developed properly.

Most people who get the virus don’t get sick, and actually only one in five people get symptoms such as fever, pinkeye, joint pain or rash. The only true way to know is to get a blood test.

Along with being hard to detect, Zika doesn’t have a vaccine, but if contracted, drinking lots of water and rest might help.

There are a couple of methods to help prevent contracting the Zika Virus. These methods include avoiding travel to places where the Zika virus is prevalent, using insect repellent, wearing clothes that cover up arms, legs and feet and staying in places that have air conditioning or  window/door screens.

Ultimately, Zika is a very serious matter and now more than ever. There have been cases of Zika in every U.S. state besides Alaska and the risk of contraction is increasing rapidly. These pesky mosquitos are traveling fast with no intention of slowing down.