Zika Virus – Frequently Asked Questions: What is Zika virus? Zika virus is a vector-borne disease that is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people (4 out of 5) who become infected with Zika virus do not develop symptoms. Those who do develop Zika virus disease will get a slight fever and rash. Others may also get conjunctivitis (pink-eye), muscle and joint pain, and feel tired. The symptoms are usually mild and typically last 2 to 7 days. How does Zika virus spread? Zika is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy, but it is not known how often this occurs. Spread of the virus has also been reported through blood transfusion and sexual contact. Zika virus cannot be transmitted by casual person-to-person contact. Who is at risk of being infected with Zika? Anyone who lives in or travels to an area where Zika virus is found and who has not already been infected with Zika virus can get it from mosquito bites. Where is Zika virus occurring right now? Zika virus occurs in tropical areas with large mosquito populations, and is known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Southern Asia and the Western Pacific. Cases and outbreaks of the disease have recently been reported in Central and South America. No locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in the continental United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers. Given the expansion of environments where mosquitoes can live and breed, facilitated by globalization, there is potential for urban epidemics of Zika virus disease to occur in Miami-Dade County. If traveling, please visit CDC’s Traveler’s Health page (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/Travel) to see which countries are currently affected. Is there any vaccine or drug to treat Zika virus? No, there are currently no vaccines or medications available to treat Zika virus. Care for a person who is infected and symptomatic is only supportive, meaning that one can only try manage symptoms until they get better. How can I prevent becoming infected with Zika? Because there is currently no vaccine, the best way to prevent Zika is to avoid mosquito bites. Wear long sleeves and long pants, stay in places with air-conditioning, use an EPA- approved insect repellent, and drain any standing water that has collected in receptacles around your home. I was bitten by a mosquito in Miami-Dade County. Can I be tested for Zika even if I don’t have symptoms? No. If you are worried about Zika virus, however, you may consult your physician. I recently traveled to a country where there is currently a Zika outbreak and now I’m experiencing the common symptoms of Zika fever mentioned above. What should I do? See your physician if your symptoms begin within two weeks of travelling to one of these areas and inform him/her about your recent travel history and any symptoms you’ve experienced. Your physician can order a test for Zika virus infection.
I am travelling to a country where there is currently a Zika outbreak. Is there anything I can do to prevent infection? Yes, you can reduce the risk of infection with Zika virus by avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes. The CDC recommends the following ways for travelers to prevent mosquito bites: Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. These products are safe for pregnant women to use. Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms. Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If this is not possible, sleep under a mosquito bed net. Empty any standing water from containers both inside and outside the home or hotel. What should I do if I’m diagnosed with Zika? Get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration, and take medicine such as acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain. Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs. FAQs for Pregnant Women or Women Planning to Become Pregnant: How will Zika virus affect me and my unborn baby? CDC has issued a travel notice for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. This notice follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly (a birth defect where the baby’s head and brain are smaller than expected) and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. However, additional studies are needed to further characterize this relationship. Should I travel to a country where there have been reported cases of Zika virus infection while I’m pregnant? If you are pregnant, is recommended that you cancel or postpone all trips to countries with outbreaks of Zika. The CDC has recently issued a Level-2 travel notice for countries where Zika transmission is ongoing. For a list of these countries, visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html. What should I do if I’m pregnant and I did become infected with Zika virus? The first and most important thing to do is to talk to your health care provider as soon as possible. If you then test positive for Zika virus, ultrasounds should be considered to monitor fetal anatomy and growth every 3-4 weeks. It is also recommended that you ask your physician for a referral to a maternal-fetal medicine or infectious disease specialist with expertise in pregnancy management. If I travelled to a country where there is ongoing Zika virus transmission and/or was infected with Zika virus and was planning to become pregnant, how long should I wait until getting pregnant? Symptoms typically take 2-14 days to show up in an infected person. After that, Zika virus remains in a person’s blood for about a week. There is currently no evidence that Zika virus infection poses a risk of birth defects in future pregnancies. Still, if you are planning on becoming pregnant and have either travelled to one of these countries or tested positive for Zika virus, you should talk to your physician. Can a previous Zika virus infection cause someone who later becomes pregnant to have an infant with microcephaly? We do not yet know for certain the exact risk to the baby if a woman is infected with Zika virus while she is pregnant. However, Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for only about a week. The virus will not cause infections in a baby that is conceived after the virus is cleared from the blood.