Naval Medical Research and Development News: Volume 8, Issue 2,February 2016
Naval Medical Research Center Silver Spring United States
Pagination or Media Count:
With recent media coverage of the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil and the spread of the disease in South and Central America, Zika has become a household word in the U.S. and around the world. Zika is a flavivirus that has recently been found in several countries within the Western hemisphere. The active transmission of Zika virus necessitates prudent preventive measures to minimize the risk of exposure, infection, and disease progression. No vaccine or drug is currently available to prevent Zika virus infection, and there is currently no specific anti-viral treatment for the disease. For NMRC, our priority is to make sure all NMRC team members, in the U.S. and overseas - military, civilian, contractors, local employees and their families - are well informed on current preventive measures. Even though our infectious disease researchers and other team members know very well the vector that transmits the disease and the standard preventive measures, it never hurts to be reminded. Infection risk is reduced by taking measures to avoid mosquito bites by wearing long sleeve and full length pants, using insect repellant treating clothing with permethrin, and reducing mosquito breeding grounds such as standing water. If someone develops sudden fever, rash, joint aches, or conjunctivitis within two week of travelling to or living and working in areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission, they should contact their healthcare provider immediately and report their symptoms and travel history. While we continue to increase our vigilance in the short-term to prevent infection and spread of the virus, these events emphasize the importance of our mission throughout the spectrum of emerging diseases. In the short term, our R and D mission is focused on the development and implementation of methods to detect Zika virus.