Zika virus is causing concern because it relatively new, it is spreading quickly and it may result in significant health effects.
Symptoms and risks:
The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. 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. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
There are two significant risks if someone becomes infected with Zika:
- If a pregnant woman becomes infected, it may infect her baby and cause microcephaly and brain injury.
- Rarely (affecting 2.6/10,000 infected individuals), there may be a temporary paralysis (Guillain-Barré syndrome).
For more, see CDC's Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.
If you are pregnant and may have been exposed:
If you are pregnant and recently traveled to an area with ongoing Zika virus transmission, or have a male sexual partner who traveled to an area with ongoing Zika virus transmission, please call for advice: Von Voightlander Women's Hospital, Michigan Medicine, at 734-763-6295, and ask for the Zika nurse.
Areas with Zika virus transmission:
Local transmission has occurred in the US and in many other countries and territories. Zika virus likely will continue to spread to new areas. Areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time. Travelers can check for CDC's Zika Travel Information.
Zika virus can be transmitted by:
- By mosquito, primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito
- From mother to child, possibly during pregnancy and around the time of delivery
- Through blood transfusion (none in the US to date)
- Through sexual contact
Precautions against Zika virus:
The CDC recommends special precautions for women, as follows:
Women who are pregnant (in any trimester):
- Consider postponing travel to any areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission
- If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip (described below).
- If you have recently been in any areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission, please discuss this with your obstetrician.
Women who are trying to become pregnant:
- Talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection:
- Before you travel to any areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission, and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during travels (described below).
- If you have a male sexual partner who travels to any areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission
Women who are at risk of pregnancy:
- Use reliable contraception during travel to any areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission, and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during travels (described below).
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. Always use as directed.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.
- Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children aged >2 months.
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
- Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.