New diseases. Like we don't have enough problems, am I right?

But the truth of the matter is that it's not that diseases people should be scared of. It's the people who go off half-cocked about viruses they know nothing about -- that's what you should fear. The Zika virus is no different. Arming yourself with knowledge is the best defense available.

The Calcasieu Parish Office of Homeland Security released some valuable information on what is currently known about Zika.

Here are some the basic facts, if you want the Cliffs Notes version:

  • Zika is spread through bodily fluids, especially from infected mosquitoes. No Louisiana mosquitoes have yet tested positive for Zika, however.
  • Only one in five people infected with the virus actually become sick. The symptoms are very mild, and can be overcome with rest and treatment of symptoms, like fever, rashes, joint pain, pink eye, muscle pain and headaches.
  • Zika virus has coincided with birth defects in babies, but doctors don't yet know why or how. Breastfeeding does not seem to pass the virus to babies.
  • There's no vaccine, so you should follow standard anti-mosquito advice, such as using insect repellant, sleeping under a net if outdoors, wearing long sleeves and pants and staying in air-conditioned places.
  • The virus is only transmissible for a short period of time. It is found in the blood for the first week following the infection.
  • If you are pregnant, now is not the time to be traveling to tropical areas.
  • If a woman gets Zika and is not pregnant, there is no evidence that future pregnancies would be at-risk.

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