Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. 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.
Anyone who is living in or travelling to an area where Zika virus is found who has not already been infected with Zika virus is at risk for infection, including pregnant women.
Where has the Zika virus been found? Locally transmitted Zika virus has been reported in :
o Dominican Republic
o El Salvador
o French Guiana
o Puerto Rico
o Saint Martin
o U.S. Virgin Islands
• There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly (a condition in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age) and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Knowledge of the link between
Zika and these outcomes is evolving, but until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for the following groups:
o Women who are pregnant (in any trimester):
Consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
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.
o Women who are trying to become pregnant:
Before you travel, talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection.
Zika is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. We do not know how often Zika is transmitted from mother to baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth.
• About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika).
• The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known but is likely to be a few days to a week.
• The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
• Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days but it can be found longer in some people.
• Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
• Deaths are rare.
• The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika.
• See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where Zika is found.
• If you have recently travelled, tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled.
• Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya.
• No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections.
• Treat the symptoms:
– Get plenty of rest
– Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
– Take medicines, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain
– Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen. Aspirin and NSAIDs should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of haemorrhage (bleeding). If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
• If you have Zika, avoid mosquito bites for the first week of your illness.
-During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites.
-An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to avoid being bitten. Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Here’s how:
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
• Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
• Use the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated for effectiveness.
-Always follow the product label instructions.
-Reapply insect repellent as directed.
-Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
-If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
If you have a baby or child:
-Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
-Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, or
-Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
-Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
-Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
-Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
-Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
-If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
-Do NOT use permethrin products directly on the skin. They are intended to treat clothing.
-Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.