UAB experts: ‘Zika virus will burn itself out’

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — In a press conference Friday at UAB’s Bevill Bio-medical Sciences Building, two professors of epidemiology calmed the fears of the outbreak of Zika virus.

According to doctors, Zika virus is like a bad flu with a rash. Currently, there are no drugs to prevent or treat Zika virus and vaccine development has only just begun.

Some of the most common symptoms are fever, headaches, joint pain, rash and conjunctivitis, but doctors say for now, the best treatment is rest, fluids and over-the-counter medicine for fever and pain relief.

However, experts Dr. David Freedman and Dr. Craig Wilson said they called the Zika virus a world health concern more because of what they don’t know than the actual risk itself, they said the virus started in Tahiti, a small island in the French Polynesia, where currently it is no longer present.

“These type of epidemics [Zika virus] burn themselves out, people are exposed and may get sick, but they eventually become immune,” said Dr. Freedman.

A great number of cases have showed up in Central America, where pregnant women have been the ones most at risk. As a result, their babies are born with defects that include and abnormally small head.

According to Dr. Freedman and Dr. Wilson, you can avoid Zika virus by using mosquito repellent, wear long-sleeved clothes, install screens or nets to keep mosquitoes out of your living areas and destroy mosquito breeding grounds by emptying pet dishes, buckets and other containers with standing water once per week.

Experts advise women who may consider traveling to effected areas that if they have fear then do not travel, but they should be okay.

In Alabama, there has been one confirmed case, but experts insist there is no reason for Alabamians to worry about the virus.

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