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Zika Virus in South Carolina

According to the CDC, as of July 3, 2018 there have been 28 cases of Zika reported in the United States, and none reported in South Carolina. In all 28 cases, the patients with Zika were returning home from traveling in affected areas, not from mosquito-borne transmission in the US. SCDHEC also confirms that there have been zero Zika cases reported in South Carolina in 2018.

Protecting Yourself from Zika

While the threat of Zika is lower in 2018 than previous years, it is still important to understand your risks and know how to protect yourself – especially if you plan on traveling to an affected area.

The Zika virus is mainly spread though mosquito bites. Zika can spread from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or birth, and cases of transmission through blood transfusion and sexual contact have been reported.

Protecting yourself from mosquitos is the best way to prevent Zika:

  • Use insect repellent
  • Wear clothes than cover the arms and legs
  • Use screens on windows and doors
  • Use air conditioning if available
  • Sleep under a mosquito net if outdoors or air conditioned/screened rooms are not possible
  • Empty items that hold water at least once a week (buckets, pools, pots, other containers)

When traveling to areas inside or outside of the US, know your risks before you go:

  • Review the CDC’s list of areas with Zika risk
  • Talk with your doctor about your travel plans
  • Talk with your partner about travel plans and Zika risk (especially for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant), use condoms or don’t have sex to avoid getting or spreading the Zika virus

Zika Symptoms

The most common Zika symptoms are generally mild, including fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, and muscle pain. People typically do not need to go to the hospital with a Zika infection, because they likely do not even realize they’ve been infected. For pregnant women, Zika can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other severe brain defects in unborn children. Learn more about Zika and Pregnancy from the CDC.

If you have traveled to an area with risk of Zika and are feeling similar symptoms, it is important to be tested by your doctor.

MUSC Health Doctors Near You in Charleston, SC

If you are concerned about upcoming travel or have Zika symptoms, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor, ob/gyn, or talk with the MUSC Health Travel Medicine care team. Our women's health and primary care physicians are available in locations throughout the Lowcountry.

 

Sources

CDC

SCDHEC 

Ebola, or Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), is a rare but deadly illness that is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. Ebola was first discovered in Africa in 1976, and the virus has emerged in several African counties over the years. Most recently, the Democratic Republic of Congo declared an Ebola outbreak in May of 2018.   

The CDC lists typical Ebola symptoms as fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising.

Ebola Ebola, or Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), is a rare but deadly illness that is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. Ebola was first discovered in Africa in 1976, and the virus has emerged in several African counties over the years. Most recently, the Democratic Republic of Congo declared an Ebola outbreak in May of 2018.   Symptoms: fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising. Sources: who.int, cdc.gov

How To Protect Yourself from Ebola

While Ebola is very rare in the United States, Ebola is considered widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the CDC, if you are visiting or living in a place where Ebola is widespread, there are ways to protect yourself and prevent the spread of the virus. When in an area affected by Ebola:

  • Avoid contact with blood and bodily fluids
  • Avoid items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or bodily fluids
  • Avoid funeral rituals that require handling the body of someone who died from Ebola
  • Avoid contact with bats and primates or blood, fluids, or meat from those animals
  • Avoid meat from an unknown source
  • Avoid contact with semen from a man who had Ebola until you know the virus is gone from the semen

 

 

Travel Medicine at MUSC Health

Travelers from Charleston can stay healthy before, during, and after a trip with MUSC Health Travel Medicine services. Our infectious disease doctors specialize in protecting you against health risks you may face when traveling abroad. While an Ebola vaccine is not currently available, one of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to get vaccines for diseases that are common in the areas you are visiting. You can also schedule an appointment with an MUSC Health primary care doctor about your travel plans and schedule any necessary vaccinations.

MUSC Global Health

MUSC is also working toward creating healthier communities all over the world through the MUSC Center for Global Health. Our work includes research to find new solutions to global health problems, collaboration with experts around the globe, educating the next generation of global health leaders with hands-on clinical work in other countries, and improving care in developing countries through medical missions with MUSC doctors, nurses, and medical students.

Sources:

http://www.who.int/

https://www.cdc.gov/

 

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