Health Update: Zika

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What is Zika virus?

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus). The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease (Zika) are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.

Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are aggressive daytime biters. They can also bite at night. The mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.

Zika virus is not currently found in the continental United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers. Outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and most recently in the Americas. Because the mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world, it is likely that outbreaks will continue to spread.

Where is Zika virus found?

Local transmission has been reported in many other countries and territories.

Does CDC know how many Zika cases were confirmed worldwide before the 2007 outbreak on Yap Islands in the Federated States of Micronesia?

Before 2007, at least 14 cases of human Zika virus disease had been documented, although other cases were likely to have occurred and were not reported. Zika virus has probably occurred in many locations. Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases probably were not identified.

What should I do if I have Zika?

Treat the symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to reduce fever and pain.
  • Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

Protect others: During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in a person’s blood and can pass from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people. To help prevent others from getting sick, prevent mosquito bites during the first week of illness by strictly following steps to prevent mosquito bites.

See your healthcare provider if you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes) during a trip or within 2 weeks after traveling to a place where Zika has been reported. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider where you traveled.

The above information was taken from www.CDC.gov on 2/10/16. For additional information please visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/.

February 16, 2016

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