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Zika Virus - Basics

Dear Volunteers,

I have been keeping a close eye on the news of the Zika virus and the recent WHO statements and Recommendations. First off, some key facts:

Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.  People with Zika virus disease usually have a mild fever, skin rash (exanthema) and conjunctivitis. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.  There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.  The virus is known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. The WHO has stated that they make NO travel or trade restrictions with countries known to have cases of Zika virus transmission.


The two cases recently reported in Ecuador were in the tropical regions, one in the northwest and the other in the southwest of the country, not in the mountain region, where the vector mosquitos do not live/thrive.


I think it is wise that women who are pregnant (especially in their first trimester) should not travel on the mission trip, although cases have now been reported in the United States. If you have anything else to add, please do so with the objective to inform and not alarm un-necessarily.



Henry Henry C. Vasconez, M.D., FACS

William S. Farish Endowed Chair of Plastic Surgery

Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics

Chief of Plastic Surgery University of Kentucky College of Medicine

Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0284

Below is a slideshow that was distributed by the CDC for more information. Visit for up to date information on Zika and the State Department for up to date travel advisories. 

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