You've no doubt heard by now of our latest mosquito-borne scourge: Zika virus. Rick and I discuss what's known so far on PodMed this week, per a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alert. And even as we ponder nomenclature for emerging viruses we also wonder at where the critters are hiding before they come to our awareness, and wreak havoc on fetuses of women who have the ill fortune to become infected. What do we know so far?
Zika virus is transmitted by our friend the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also credited with transmission of dengue and chikungunya. The bug bites day or night, and the best protections include staying indoors in the AC or screened-in places, long sleeves and pants, repellent use and so on. For women who are pregnant the agency recommends against travel to any area where the infection is active, and notes that women can be infected at any stage of pregnancy. Pregnant or not, about 80% of those who are infected are asymptomatic, and even those who with symptoms experience nonspecific ones. Thus the CDC recommends that any pregnant woman who has traveled to these areas be screened for possible Zika virus infection, with ultrasonography for follow up in order to detect microcephaly or intracranial calcifications. No doubt we'll all learn more as the medical sleuths get underway.
Other topics this week include PT and Parkinson's disease in JAMA Neurology, afib in women in the BMJ, and a theme issue on oncology end of life issues in JAMA. Until next week, y'all live well.