In the end of July, authorities in Florida reported what they believe to be the first local Zika transmission in the continental U.S., with the state’s current total case count at 14. The virus, which was first identified in 1947 in a rhesus monkey in Uganda, was initially detected in humans in 1952. While the exact trajectory is difficult to map, experts believe the virus made its way from Africa to Asia in the late 1960s to early 1980s, only to later make its way to South America and North America. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus to be a public health emergency on an in international scale.
Below are nine myth-busting facts about the Zika virus:
Fact: The Zika virus is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes -- specifically, mosquitoes from the Aedes genus, which also transmit yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya.
Fact: While mosquitoes are the primary source of transmission, it is not the only mode. According to the WHO, sexual transmission is possible and blood transfusion is currently being looked into.
Fact: The symptoms of the Zika virus are mild and last anywhere from two days to a week. Signs include: fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle and joint pain, headache, malaise, and infections like dengue.
Fact: A blood and urine test can confirm a Zika infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Fact: There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Fact: Those diagnosed with Zika, says the CDC, should get rest, drink fluids, take medication to reduce pain and fever symptoms, avoid aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Fact: Pregnant women are considered to be at-risk individuals, as the virus has been linked to serious birth defects in children. In 2015, Brazil associated the virus with Guillain-Barré syndrome, an illness relating to the nervous system, and microcephaly, a sign of incomplete brain development that physically manifests with abnormally small heads.
Fact: It is rare that people die from a Zika infection.
Fact: The CDC states it is “likely” that an individual is protected from future infections once they have been infected by the Zika virus.