MU Health Care provides resources in fight against Zika virus

7 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago August 11, 2016 Aug 11, 2016 Thursday, August 11 2016 Thursday, August 11, 2016 11:12:00 AM CDT in News
By: Brendon Baker, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

COLUMBIA - University of Missouri physicians and researchers are working to provide the public with information on how to stop the spread of the Zika Virus.

MU Health Care is providing the following resources:

  • An MU Health website with common questions and answers, as well as informational videos and updated guidelines related to Zika
  • An informational phone line and email address dedicated to addressing public concerns about the virus at: (573) 771-9452 and zika@health.missouri.edu

Dr. Christelle Ilboudo said the impact of Zika is not the same as other infectious diseases. The main concern with Zika is the virus’ link to birth defects, such as microcephaly, she said.

“The most typical symptoms of the virus are mild and last only a few days to a week,” Ilboudo said. “However, we believe that the virus can stay in the body for up to two weeks and, once infected, an individual develops a level of immunity to future infections."

Zika is transmitted primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species of mosquito. The Aedes mosquito is found in Missouri and is typically an aggressive daytime feeder. 

Ilboudo offered the following suggestions for reducing the risk of being bitten by a mosquito: 

  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET. 
  • Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
  • Stay indoors when possible, preferably in spaces with either air conditioning or windows and doors with screens.
  • Remove standing water around your home.

Alexader Franz, an assistant professor of veterinary pathobiology at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, along with his team of researchers, are working on genetically manipulating mosquitoes so they can not transmit viruses to humans. 

“While my team is focused on mosquitoes, other researchers are focused on creating vaccines and therapies for the people infected,” Franz said. “Both approaches are needed to successfully stop the spread of the virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.”

 

 

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