While the spring and summer bring a variety of recreational opportunities to enjoy on weekends and days off, they also bring a variety of bugs and other pests which can be a real nuisance. Mosquitoes, often referred to jokingly as the state mascot, are of particular concern with our abundance of rivers, marshes, and waterways. Recent headlines concerning the Zika virus, a disease carried by mosquito, has caused increasing alarm, particularly for the potential it has to cause harm to pregnant mothers and their babies. Unfortunately, insect, bug, and tick-related disease are often subject to medical misdiagnosis and errors, and without proper treatment, complications can arise. The following is important information to be aware of regarding the Zika virus, as well as those most likely to be affected.

Zika Virus: Know the Facts

With news reports about the Zika virus making headlines and raising alarms in news reports, it is important to be aware the facts about this disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Zika virus is not something new, but was in fact first discovered over 50 years ago. Spread by a particular type of mosquito not found within the U.S., it was originally contained within Africa and the Pacific Islands but has since spread to other countries, with serious outbreaks reported in Brazil and Southeast Asia.

Currently, the CDC claims there are no known cases of the Zika virus being contracted within the United States, but there are as many as 600 medically diagnosed cases confirmed in U.S. from citizens who traveled to other areas, such Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. In response to the recent rash of outbreaks, the CDC has issued travel advisories for numerous areas, warning travelers of the dangers. It is expected that, as more people currently traveling abroad return to the U.S. and medical tests and diagnosis of the virus becomes more common, the number of within the U.S. could increase dramatically.

Effects of the Zika Virus

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) symptoms of the Zika virus, such as fever, rashes, eye infections, and muscle and joint pain typically appear within several days of being bit by an infected mosquito, and last anywhere between several days to a week. While symptoms may lead doctors to suspect the virus, it can only be confirmed through blood or bodily fluids tests. Serious complications that can result from the Zika virus include the following:

  • Neurological disorders;
  • Autoimmune system disorders;
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome, in which the body’s immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system.

For pregnant women in particular, the Zika virus can be dangerous. WHO reports an increased risk of fetal malformations as well as neurological disorders, as well as a condition called microcephaly. This birth defect results in the baby’s head being significantly smaller than the rest of the body. The condition has been the subject of numerous media reports and speculation, and alarming numbers have been reported among infants of Zika infected mothers in Brazil.

Reach Out to Us for Assistance 

Whenever you suffer an illness or nagging symptoms, it is important to seek prompt medical care in order to be tested for certain conditions. It is your doctor’s responsibility to interpret your symptoms and order the appropriate testing, and failing to do so can be considered as medical negligence. If you or a loved one has suffered complications as the result of a medical error or misdiagnosis, contact Hogan Frick today. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys can advise you on how to hold responsible parties accountable, and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.