Zika! Now that I have your attention, it appears that the US has become a breeding ground for this virus. It has gained significant attention for its predilection towards causing havoc in the field of neurology. It typically causes a self-limited febrile flu-like illness like many viral infections. However, it has become apparent that the virus can cause devastation through its ability to cause microcephaly, small heads of babies. The small heads are a result of small brains and small brains means severe retardation. The Centers for Disease Control has advised that pregnant women avoid traveling to high-risk areas and that men traveling to the same regions should abstain from sexual activity as it has been found that the virus can last up to 6 months in sperm. Florida appears to be the current hot spot in the US but the carrier of the virus, the mosquito Aedes Aegypti, has a habitat throughout the Southwest and Southeast United States, including southern California and Southern Nevada and Utah.

An additional concern has been the rise of Guillen Barre (Gee-on Ba ray) (GBS) syndrome in people living in areas of Zika virus outbreaks. GBS is a disorder where the immune system of the person affected is ramped up to attack itself resulting in nerve damage. This includes damage to the motor nerves resulting in weakness including respiratory muscles resulting in difficulties breathing, to the sensory nerves causing numbness and tingling, and to the autonomic nerves resulting in fluctuations in blood pressure and heart rate that could be dangerous. GBS is treatable and needs to be diagnosed early in its course to avoid potentially life-threatening complications

Please call us for an immediate evaluation if you have any symptoms of weakness, numbness, tingling, trouble swallowing, trouble speaking, trouble breathing, or dizziness after visiting any areas where Zika virus could be spread. Although the Aedes Aegypti mosquito tends to live in the Southwest and Southeast almost all of the States have reported at least one case of travel-related Zika virus infection. We have included maps of the endemic areas of the typical Zika carrier mosquitos on our website.