August 23, 2016
By Toby Simon, MD
Zika virus has been widely reported in the news during the past year, so much so that a number of athletes chose to stay home rather than compete in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and risk infection. We therefore understand that patients treated with our plasma derived products want to be certain they are not at risk for infection with Zika virus through their treatment with our products.
Infection with the Zika virus generally results in no symptoms, but 20% or more of individuals infected will have a mild illness of 5 to 7 days with fever, rash, headache, and discomfort in their hands, wrists, and ankles. This virus has also been associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a self-limited disease of the nervous system that can be serious.
Most of the public health concern relates to infection in pregnant women, because microcephaly (incomplete brain development) and other fetal defects have resulted from infection with this virus. The virus is spread by mosquito bites, but there is evidence of transmission through sexual contact and blood transfusion. The virus has been most common in tropical areas. The epidemic is severe in Puerto Rico and has emerged in the United States through both travel and in the last month from local mosquito transmissions in south Florida.