SUMMIT, NJ - A panel of physicians and top industry health experts will lead a discussion on the Zika Virus, its impact in the United States and New Jersey, and how to best protect oneself and their family, September 28 at 7 p.m.

The panel will include Dr. Robert Rubino, MD, FACOG - The Rubino OB/GYN Group; Dr. Leon Smith, MD, FACOG, Perinatologist - NJ Perinatal Group, and Megan Avallone, MS, RN  - Health Officer, Westfield Regional Health Department. Other issues addressed will include travel to endemic areas, and Zika and pregnancy. The event will be held at 92 Summit Avenue, and light refreshments will be served. The panel will also answers attendees questions throughout the discussion.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika outbreaks have probably occurred in many locations. Before 2007, at least 14 cases of Zika had been documented, although other cases were likely to have occurred and were not reported. Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases may not have been recognized.

Sign Up for E-News

Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters, and they can also bite at night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and the resulting infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.

Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are Fever, Rash, Joint pain, Conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other symptoms include muscle pain and headache.

Zika is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. Symptoms of Zika are similar to other viruses spread through mosquito bites, like dengue and chikungunya.

There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika, and -- as of September 7 -- the CDC cites ArboNET statistics detailing 2,964 Zika Virus cases reported in US States and the District of Columbia and 15,869 cases reported in US Territories.

The Florida Department of Health has now identified two areas of Miami-Dade County where Zika is being spread by mosquitoes. In addition to the previously identified area in the Wynwood neighborhood, there is now mosquito-borne spread of Zika virus in a section of Miami Beach.

To registers and RSVP for the event, visit /rubinoOBGYN.com.