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MedWatch-Zika virus on the rise

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) – The number of Zika virus cases is on the rise, but what is the Zika virus, who is at risk and how can you protect yourself?

Summer is in full swing and so is mosquito season. It's hard to believe that this tiny insect is responsible for the spread of the Zika virus and such large-scale health concerns.

"In Oklahoma, there have been about six or eight cases of Zika virus, and in each case the virus has been acquired in a region that has been endemic for viral transmission. None of these cases have been local transmission from mosquito to humans," Dr. Richard Brittingham, Comanche County Memorial Hospital, said.

According to the CDC, 1,100 people in the US have tested positive for the Zika virus and one in five Americans are infected with the Zika virus, but they don't even know they have it.

"Many people who are infected with Zika virus don't even know that they were infected. They are completely asymptomatic. A small percentage, maybe about 25 percent of patients do develop what we call Zika fever. The patient may get fever, some myalgia, joint aches, stiff neck, sore throat, conjunctivitis and all this goes away in about a week. The biggest danger with the Zika virus is for women who are pregnant because the virus,” Dr. Brittingham explained.

Currently, there is no vaccine for the Zika virus. However, a simple blood or urine test can determine if you have the virus. Although the number of Zika cases is on the rise, the chances of contracting the virus in Oklahoma is low.

So, as you enjoy summer times activities, remember to protect yourself against mosquito bites. If you're expecting a baby, be vigilant in the morning hours and around standing water.

In other health news, the Spirit of Survival training program is underway. Whether you're just beginning to get in shape or want to sharpen your long distance running skills, this annual event to raise money for cancer research is 11 weeks away. Group training sessions meet Saturdays at 7 a.m. at Dick's Sporting Goods in Lawton.

For more information about training sessions or to register for the Spirit of Survival event, visit www.spiritofsurvival.com.

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