Zika Virus Impacts Cardiovascular Health

New evidence has emerged about the Zika virus’s potentially detrimental effects on the heart, according to data presentation at the American College of Cardiology’s 66th annual meeting held March 17–19, 2017 in Washington, DC. The study – the first to report Zika-related heart troubles following infection—included adult patients with no prior history of cardiovascular disease who were treated at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Caracas, Venezuela, one of the epicenters of the Zika virus outbreak. All but one patient developed a dangerous heart rhythm problem and two-thirds had evidence of heart failure, a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. According to lead author, Karina Gonzalez Carta, MD, cardiologist and research fellow at the Department of Cardiovascular Diseases at Mayo Clinic, people should be made aware that if they travel to or live in a place with known Zika virus and develop a rash, fever or conjunctivitis, and within a short timeframe also feel other symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath or their heart skipping beats, they should see their doctor. Symptoms of the Zika virus usually include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis (pink eye), muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache, which typically last for two to seven days, according to the World Health Organization. The best way to prevent the Zika virus is by preventing mosquito bites.cardiovascular disease tend to have worse outcomes.

Source: Researchers sound alarm over Zika’s potentially harmful heart effects [news release]. Washington, DC: American College of Cardiology. http://www.acc.org/about-acc/press- releases/2017/03/09/13/25/researchers-sound-alarm-over-zikas-pot entially-harmful-heart-effects. Published March 9, 2017. Accessed May 1, 2017.

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