What is Zika Virus?
Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
Fast Facts About the Zika Virus Outbreak:
- Outbreaks of Zika have occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas (including Puerto Rico). Because the Aedes species mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world, it is likely that outbreaks will spread to new countries.
- In December 2015, Puerto Rico reported its first confirmed Zika virus case. Locally transmitted Zika has not been reported elsewhere in the United States, but cases of Zika have been reported in returning travelers.
- On January 15, the CDC issued a public health travel advisory specifically targeting pregnant women as it relates to Zika virus.
- CDC has issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Suriname, and Venezuela.
- This travel alert follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly 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.
- More studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy. Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant.
There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Travelers can protect themselves from this disease by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites. When traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses spread by mosquitoes have been reported, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.
For More Information:
Please visit the dedicated website on Zika virus available thru the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information and consult with your personal healthcare provider regarding any concerns that you might have after reviewing the CDC information. The CDC website is: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html.