Zika is a virus that is thought to spread to people through mosquito bites, but there has been evidence of sexual transmission. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to one week. About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus infection develop symptoms. Hospitalization is not common. Zika virus has been found in Brazil, Mexico, several countries in Central and South America and several islands in the Caribbean including Puerto Rico, and some cases were recently found in the U.S.
The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes).
Zika virus is thought to be primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquitoes, the same mosquitoes that spread chikungunya and dengue. Mosquitoes become infected when they bite a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites. Zika virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. There is evidence that the Zika virus can be sexually transmitted.
Anyone who is living in or traveling to an area where Zika virus is found who has not already been infected is at risk for infection, including pregnant women. Zika virus also spreads through sexual contact.
See your healthcare provider if you develop symptoms (see above). If you have recently traveled, tell your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider may order a blood or urine test to look for Zika virus infection or other similar viral diseases like dengue or chikungunya.
Zika virus does not spread from casual contact with others. As usual, children should remain out of the center if they have a fever.