Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Zika and RSV

"Great. Another disease we can catch from a mosquito bite. As if we can't catch enough things right now from a simple bite."

What do the Zika Virus and the RSV disease have in common? Not much. Except a bit over a month ago, I had not heard of either. And now, I am very familiar with RSV and hearing more about the Zika Virus almost every day. And both are very scary.

First RSV. It is a respiratory disease which has been around for a while. However, very few people have heard of it. I know I never have. My grandson contacted it at his daycare earlier this month. Out of 18 infants and babies at the daycare, 8 caught it. One case turned into pneumonia. And many young ones who catch it end up in the hospital.

It is not just for infants. My grandson infected my son-in-law. Yes, adults can get it also. It acts like a bad chest cold which takes what seems like forever to get rid of. For young ones however, it is very serious. Due to the small nature of their breathing tubes and lungs, it can quickly turn into bronchitis or pneumonia. My grandson is over it now, but for a while it was touch and go if we were going to have to take him to the hospital.

The Zika Virus is a different story. Again, it has been around since 1940. Started in Africa. And the primary transmission agent is our friendly little "state bird" - the mosquito. And for pregnant women, it can be very serious for the fetus. It can cause microcephaly, which is a disease which can cause a baby to be born with a smaller than average brain. For adults, about 1 in 5 who are bit will get sick, but usually not sick enough to die. It really is a disease which targets pregnant women.

Like every other disease which starts someplace else, it is finding its way here. It is coming up from the south. Or with folks who have been to affected countries. A bit of disclosure - my wife and I just returned from an infected country. It is so bad now in one Central American country, the government is asking people to forgo having children for two years.

I am just hoping the CDC can find a vaccine for Zika sooner rather than later. Then I am hoping nothing else pops up this year. Or next year. Or the year after. We have quite enough to worry about right now, thank you.


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