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Zika virus explained: What is it and what are the symptoms?

The subject’s been rife across the global media, so we wanted to find out more about the virus that has been making headlines. EL chats to the International Medical Clinic to learn more about what the Zika virus is all about.

what is the zika virus? 

Where did Zika come from?

The first human case was detected in Nigeria in 1954 and there have been further outbreaks in Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific Islands. Most were small and Zika has not previously been considered a major threat to human health. In May 2015 it was reported in Brazil and has spread rapidly. It has since also been reported in: Barbados, Bolivia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname and Venezuela.

How is it spread?
It is spread by Aedes mosquitoes. They are found throughout the Americas. If they drink the blood of an infected person they can then infect subsequent people they bite.

How dangerous is it?
The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika. Deaths are rare and only one in five people infected is thought to develop symptoms.

These include:

  • mild fever
  • conjunctivitis (red, sore eyes)
  • headache
  • joint pain
  • a rash

If you have recently travelled, tell your Doctor provider when and where you travelled. Your Doctor may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya.

There is no vaccine or drug treatment. Patients are advised to rest and drink plenty of fluids.

What can people do?

As there is no treatment, the only option is to reduce the risk of being bitten.

Health officials advise people to:

  • use insect repellents
  • cover up with long-sleeved clothes
  • keep windows and doors closed

The CDC has advised pregnant women not to travel to affected areas. To find out more head to the CDC fact page.

We have the RID Insect Repellent Range available in all clinics – RID contains the correct dosage of DEET to help protect you from mosquitoes that carry diseases such as Zika, Dengue Fever, and Malaria.

Independent laboratory tests prove Tropical Strength RID Repellent provides heavy duty protection against mosquitoes for 6 hours. Available in100 ml pump spray or roll-on.

Kids RID Repellent contains fewer chemicals, is alcohol free, has a mild fragrance and is medicated for extra protection. The light milk formula is skin friendly while the roll-on applicator is simple to use. Available in 60 ml roll-on.


Presented by International Medical Clinic (IMC) Singapore

IMC Clinic, Camden Medical Centre, 1 Orchard Blvd

IMC Singapore,  293 Holland Rd, #02-04, Jelita Cold Storage Shopping Centre

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