Zika virus disease is caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito (Aedes aegypti
and Aedes albopictus
). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting up to a week, and many people do not have symptoms or will have only mild symptoms. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly
and other severe brain defects.
The most common symptoms
of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Other symptoms include muscle pain and headache. Many people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms or will have mild symptoms, which can last for several days to a week.
Many people infected with Zika will have no symptoms
or mild symptoms that last several days to a week. However, Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly
and other severe fetal brain defects. Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS)
, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system, is also very likely triggered by Zika in a small number of cases.
Once someone has been infected with Zika, it’s very likely they’ll be protected from future infections. There is no evidence that past Zika infection poses an increased risk of birth defects in future pregnancies.
Travelers who go to places with Zika can be infected with Zika, and CDC has issued travel notices
for people traveling to those areas. Many people will have mild or no symptoms. However, Zika can cause microcephaly and other severe birth defects. For this reason, pregnant women should not travel to any area with Zika, and women trying to get pregnant
should talk to their doctors before traveling or before their male partners travel. It is especially important that women who wish to delay or avoid pregnancy consistently use the most effective method of birth control that they are able to use. Those traveling to areas with Zika should take steps during and after they travel to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika
The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites:
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air-conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
Zika can be spread by men to their sex partners. People whose male sex partners have traveled to or live in an area with Zika can prevent Zika by using condoms correctly
every time they have sex or by not having sex.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention