About Zika Virus Disease
Zika virus disease, or Zika, is caused by the Zika virus. Zika virus is primarily spread from person-to-person through the bite of an infected mosquito of the Aedes species. Zika can also be transmitted sexually.
Common Zika symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis ( “pink eye”). However, symptoms are often mild and many people may not realize that they are infected.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects, including microcephaly. Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected. Babies with microcephaly frequently have smaller brains that have not developed properly.
Preventing Zika Infection
No vaccine exists to prevent Zika.
The best way to prevent Zika infection is to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime. Mosquito bites can be prevented by:
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Staying in places with air conditioning and/or window and door screens
- Controlling mosquito populations inside and around your home
- Using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents
- Wearing permethrin-treated clothing
Sexual transmission of Zika can be prevented by using condoms or not having sex.
- Zika: What Healthy Start Grantees Need to Know: This archived webinar provides an overview of Zika and prevention, specifically focused on pregnant women, and highlights how HRSA/MCHB are responding.
- Zika Virus (CDC): CDC’s website contains information on Zika virus; prevention; transmission and risks; symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment; resources for pregnant women; and resources for healthcare providers.
- Zika 101 Slides: These slides from the CDC provide on overview of Zika virus disease, including transmission methods, prevention, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and information on the US Zika Pregnancy Registry.
- Interim Guidance for Health Care Providers Caring for Pregnant Women with Possible Zika Virus Exposure (July 2016): CDC has released updated guidance for health care providers, including updated recommendations for testing and clinical management for pregnant women with confirmed or possible Zika virus infection.
- CDC maintains a 24/7 Zika consultation service for health officials and healthcare providers caring for infants born to pregnant women to assist with test interpretation and questions about clinical management. Call 770-488-7100 and ask for the Zika Pregnancy Hotline or e-mail [email protected].
- Zika Virus Resource Center (American Medical Association): This website) is regularly updated with links to resources for the public and medical providers, including background information on Zika virus, clinical guidance, and current research.
- Top Questions on Zika: Simple Answers (ASTHO): This resource from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) includes answers to over 30 common Zika questions using the science-based, risk communication message mapping development process. This resource will be updated as more science emerges.
- Zika: Resources at Your Fingertips (ASPR): This regularly-updated resource from the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) provides Zika virus disease resources and an overview of public health and healthcare system considerations and implications.
Screen and Talk to Patients About Zika (Texas Medical Association): The Texas Medical Association and the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists created this guide for providers on talking to patients about Zika, and screening and testing patients for Zika.
- Providing Family Planning Care for Non-Pregnant Women and Men of Reproductive Age in the Context of Zika: This toolkit for providers provides information on counseling non-pregnant female clients and male clients with non-pregnant partners about family planning in the context of Zika.
- Your Local or State Health Department: Contact your health department for information on local Zika surveillance, prevention, and mosquito control efforts. The health department may also know where free or subsidized insect repellent and larvicides (to kill mosquito larvae in standing water) may be available.