Health services is one of the largest industries in the country, with about 11.3 million jobs. About 14 percent of all wage and salary jobs created between 1998 and 2008 will be in health services. Twelve out of 30 occupations projected to grow the fastest are concentrated in health services. Most jobs require less than 4 years of college education.








People who work in health care attend to the medical needs of millions of people each day. Health care professionals combine the latest technology and a human touch to offer care in a number of settings.

Health care employees come in all
shapes and sizes. They include the
nurse working in a one-doctor rural
physician practice, to the pharmacist working in a large inner-city hospital, to the therapist traveling to patients� homes.

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Zika Virus and Pregnancy


Zika virus has not been as much a nightmare for anyone as it has been for pregnant women and couples trying to conceive. Its recent breakout in the Americas has terrorized them into thinking rationally about their decisions in life, including whether they should delay their wants for a child and should the pregnant head out of their homes for simple stuff such as getting groceries.

Their fears are not for nothing since Zika virus poses an immense threat to the next generation of infants. Any threat to the fetus of a pregnant woman can be perilous for the potential mothers as well, so the virus can prove to be a catastrophe for both of them.

What Is the Zika Virus?

Zika virus is a virus from the Flaviviridae family of viruses and belongs to the genus Flavivirus. This is the same family and genus that contains other famous viruses like dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses. It is an arbovirus that is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites of the Aedes genus, mainly the bites of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.

The virus was first discovered in 1947 from the Zika forest in Uganda, hence the name ‘Zika.’ However, the virus was not thought to cause much harm or proved to be fatal in any case, so hardly any research was done on the virus at that time.

It caught the world’s eye during the recent outbreak of the virus in Americas, beginning from Brazil. Within a year, Brazil had thousands of babies born with severe congenital disabilities and deformities that could be fatal for some infants. From there on, the virus has spread across the Americas to the neighboring countries of Brazil, Central America, North America and the Caribbean. After such drastic effects of the virus, older breakouts in other places were looked into such as Micronesia in 2007 and small islands of Oceania during 2013-2014.

Why Is It Dangerous?

Often, the Zika virus does not harm the infected people or it might induce some mild illness, which would only last a few days or a week, though in some rare cases, it can lead to the Guillain-Barre syndrome which can be fatal. However, it can be devastating for pregnant women and their fetuses.

The Zika virus can lead to pregnancy losses or an abnormally small head due to an underdeveloped brain, a condition known as microcephaly. Microcephaly can be associated with developmental problems, mental retardation, and seizures and can be fatal for the infants in some cases.

Since the pandemic began in the Americas, there has been a surge in the cases of miscarriages and children born with microcephaly in most of these countries. Brazil, from where the epidemic broke, remains to be the most affected country in the Americas. From mid-2015 to September 2016, some 1950 confirmed cases of Zika-related microcephaly have been reported. Many of the infants with microcephaly do not get to live long and die within a few hours or days from their birth. A high proportion of pregnancies with mothers carrying Zika virus have resulted in miscarriages. In the US, out of the nine reported cases of pregnant women with Zika virus, only three have led to live births.



The symptoms of Zika virus are not generally noticed as many people do not even develop any symptoms at all and those who do mostly go through a mild illness for a few days or a week. This illness could be called Zika fever i.e. a mild fever that can last for three days to a week. Other symptoms of the virus include muscle and joint pain, rashes, and conjunctivitis. These symptoms, being too general, makes the diagnosis of Zika virus challenging since it is generally mistaken as the seasonal flu or some normal disease, for which people would not prefer to go and see a doctor.


Currently, there are no vaccines to be immune from the Zika virus or any medicine to treat the virus when acquired. The research on this is under process and until then, specialists recommend a few tips for pregnant women or couples to prevent from acquiring the Zika virus.

  • For couples trying to conceive, it is important to take their surroundings into consideration. If they live in an area where the virus is active, they might consider delaying the pregnancy.
  • For pregnant women, it is necessary to avoid travelling to locations which are considered to be Zika-active.
  • If travelling to such places is unavoidable, they should refer to their doctors and plan their travel by taking necessary steps of prevention from the Zika virus.
  • Prevention of mosquito bites is the essential thing to do. It is recommended to use clothing that covers the body to the maximum. Use of EPA-registered insect repellents which contain any one of DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 is encouraged.
  • Avoid acquiring Zika virus through sex partners by using contraception during sex.
  • Remain in air-conditioned rooms. If that is not available, bed netting should be used.



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Copyright 2006 The Hospital & Healthsystem Assn. of Pa.