Zika: The Latest Mosquito-Borne Threat

Thinking of taking a trip to Rio, perhaps to attend the Olympics and cheer on the U.S. Team? If so, you should consider taking along a lot of mosquito repellent: the Zika virus is running rampant.

Stories of the Zika virus have exploded in the news, with reports of birth defects among pregnant women who contracted the virus. Although the virus is usually mild in adults, it can be devastating to the unborn. One of the unfortunate results for affected infants is microcephaly, where the head and brain are smaller than normal, with abnormal brain development. At this point, at least two dozen countries have recorded cases of Zika, and in the western hemisphere, it is widespread from Mexico to Paraguay, including the Caribbean islands that are popular destinations among vacationers.

As it has been recently learned that the virus can be passed through sexual activity, it’s possible to contract it without going anywhere near the active areas. This fact is a frightening development.

What Is the Zika Virus?

Zika is in the same family of viruses as yellow fever, dengue fever, West Nile, and chikungunya. There are no vaccines to prevent Zika, nor are there any medical treatments that are effective against the infection.

Here are some important facts to know about Zika:

  • Zika is fairly widespread, appearing in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific islands.
  • The best protection from Zika, at this time, is prevention against being bitten, making mosquito repellent mandatory. Also, because the virus can be spread through sexual transmission, the usual cautions against casual sexual activity apply.
  • It is spread by the Aedes aegyptimosquito, an aggressive “biter” that is often active in the daytime. This particular mosquito prefers to establish itself indoors, so you may not be safe even inside your hotel room in a Zika-infested area.
  • Symptoms of Zika include mild fever, muscle and joint pain, headache, rashes, and conjunctivitis, and normally last from 2 to 7 days.
  • According to the CDC, only about one in five people actually become ill. The biggest danger is to fetuses.

I Traveled Recently to an Affected Area! What Now?

If you are pregnant, or thinking about getting pregnant, and think you might have been exposed to the Zika virus, consult your doctor about getting tested. Testing can be difficult to obtain, but the situation is changing daily. If you are concerned, push to be tested.

If you are male and think you might have been exposed, you should be tested for the protection of your partner or spouse.

Other legal points to keep in mind:

  • If you traveled on business to an area with Zika, or you want to refuse to travel to such an area for your job, you may find the law of little help. As of the moment, there is little legal guidance or official help in this matter.
  • There may be actionable liability against a city, country, state, or federal government if you can prove negligence in not getting the word out.
  • There may be actionable liability if you are a health care worker and become infected with Zika after treating patients with the illness.
  • There may be actionable liability if someone deliberately or negligently gives you the Zika virus through sexual contact. The legal principle is the same as if someone purposefully or negligently gives you an STD.
  • There may be actionable liability if a travel agent did not inform you of the risks and you purchased a trip from them to an affected area.

Hand the worry over to us and let our resources back you up.

Have you or a loved one been injured by the Zika virus, or have you given birth to a child with injuries that could be traced to the virus? Perhaps you visited an area where the virus is active before the story broke on national media, and the danger was not fully known. If you think you might have a case, keep in mind that in Indiana there is a statute of limitations – or a deadline – for filing personal injury claims, so it is unwise to delay. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure. Call Mike Stephenson at 1-317-825-5200 or contact us for immediate help. At McNeely Stephenson, we believe justice matters.