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Expat Exchange - Zika Virus in Martinique
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Zika Virus in Martinique

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: The mosquito-borne Zika Virus is a p for people living in Martinique. It's especially important for pregnant women to understand the risks of getting Zika during pregnancy. Learn how to limit your exposure and what to do if you get Zika.

In Martinique, residents face concerns related to the Zika Virus transmitted by mosquitoes. Pregnant women, in particular, need to be aware of the risks associated with contracting Zika during their pregnancy. Discover ways to minimize exposure and steps to take if you contract the virus.

The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne illness, has been a significant health concern in many parts of the world, including the Caribbean island of Martinique. This article will delve into the specifics of the Zika virus, its prevalence in Martinique, its impact on pregnancy, and how both locals and expats can protect themselves from this disease. It will also address common questions about the virus, such as its contagiousness and its potential dangers for different age groups and those with compromised immune systems.

What is the Zika Virus?

The Zika virus is a disease primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Symptoms typically include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild, with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. However, infection during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects, and in rare cases, it can trigger Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological disorder that can lead to paralysis and death.

Where is Zika Most Prevalent in Martinique?

Zika virus was first identified in Martinique in December 2015, and the island experienced a significant outbreak in 2016. The virus is prevalent throughout the island, with no specific areas being more affected than others. The Aedes mosquitoes that carry the virus are found in both urban and rural areas, and they are particularly active during the day.

Zika Virus and Pregnancy

Zika virus is of particular concern for pregnant women because it can cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly, a condition where a baby's head is significantly smaller than expected, often due to abnormal brain development. Pregnant women in Martinique are advised to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms of Zika virus. It's also important to note that the virus can be sexually transmitted, so partners of pregnant women should also take precautions to prevent infection.

How do Expats in Martinique Prevent Mosquito Bites?

Expats in Martinique can take several steps to prevent mosquito bites and reduce their risk of contracting the Zika virus. These include wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, using insect repellent, and staying in places with air conditioning or window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. It's also recommended to eliminate standing water around the home, where mosquitoes can breed.

What if I Get Zika Virus in Martinique?

If you get the Zika virus in Martinique, it's important to seek medical attention immediately. While there's no specific treatment for the virus, symptoms can be managed with rest, hydration, and over-the-counter medications for fever and pain. It's also crucial to avoid mosquito bites for the first week of infection to prevent further spread of the virus.

Is Zika Virus Contagious?

Zika virus is not contagious in the traditional sense; it cannot be spread directly from person to person through casual contact. However, it can be transmitted through mosquito bites, from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and through sexual contact. Blood transfusion and organ transplantation are also potential, but rare, modes of transmission.

Is Zika Virus More Dangerous for Children, the Elderly, or Immune-Compromised Individuals?

While the Zika virus typically causes a mild illness in healthy individuals, it can be more severe in people with weakened immune systems, including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. However, the most significant risk is to unborn babies, as the virus can cause severe birth defects. Children who are infected with Zika virus typically have the same mild symptoms as adults.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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