Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947. In 2014, Zika virus was documented in Chile — the first incidence of the infection in Latin America. As of the most recent data, the countries in Latin America that have reports of Zika virus infections now include Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, Paraguay, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Panama.
Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites
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 symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika.
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.
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 medicine such as acetaminophen 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 hemorrhage (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.
CDC Issues Zika Travel Alert
Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to 14 countries and territories in South and Central America and the Caribbean where mosquitos are spreading the Zika virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced tonight. Viral infection in pregnant women has been associated with microcephaly in infants.
In what it calls a level 2 travel alert, the CDC also advises women who are thinking about becoming pregnant to consult with their physician before traveling to these areas, and if they do, follow strict precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Safeguards include wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants and using insect repellent.
Information on this page was adapted from
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