ZIKA VIRUS: Things you need to know including Prevention, Symptoms, Treatment


According to the CDC, Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. These mosquitoes typically lay eggs in and near standing water in things like buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots and vases. They prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people. Mosquitoes that spread Zika are aggressive daytime biters, but they can also bite at night.

Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

A pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy. Zika is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. A pregnant woman already infected with Zika virus can pass the virus to her fetus during the pregnancy or around the time of birth.

To date, there are no reports of infants getting Zika virus through breastfeeding. Because of the benefits of breastfeeding, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed even in areas where Zika virus is found.

Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her partners. Zika can be passed through sex, even if the infected person does not have symptoms at the time.

It can be passed from a person with Zika before their symptoms start, while they have symptoms, and after their symptoms end. Though not well documented, the virus may also be passed by a person who carries the virus but never develops symptoms. Studies are underway to find out how long Zika stays in the semen and vaginal fluids of people who have Zika, and how long it can be passed to sex partners.  Zika can remain in semen longer than in other body fluids, including vaginal fluids, urine, and blood.

As of February, 1, 2016, there have not been any confirmed blood transfusion transmission cases in the United States.
There have been multiple reports of blood transfusion transmission cases in Brazil. These reports are currently being investigated. During the French Polynesian outbreak, 2.8% of blood donors tested positive for Zika and in previous outbreaks, the virus has been found in blood donors.

Anyone who lives in or travels to an area where Zika virus is found and has not already been infected with Zika virus can get it from mosquito bites. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.


Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)

Other symptoms include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Headache

How long symptoms last

Zika is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. 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. Symptoms of Zika are similar to other viruses spread through mosquito bites, like dengue and chikungunya.

How soon you should be tested

Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week. See your doctor or other healthcare provider if you develop symptoms and you live in or have recently traveled to an area with Zika. Your doctor or other healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.

When to see a doctor or healthcare provider

See your doctor or other healthcare provider if you have the symptoms described above and have visited an area with Zika, this is especially important if you are pregnant.  Be sure to tell your doctor or other healthcare provider where you traveled.

If you think you have Zika

There is no specific medicine or vaccine for Zika virus.

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

As of July 27, 2016 (5 am EST)

  • Zika virus disease and Zika virus congenital infection are nationally notifiable conditions.
  • This update from the CDC Arboviral Disease Branch includes provisional data reported to ArboNET for January 01, 2015 – July 27, 2016.

US States

  • Locally acquired mosquito-borne cases reported: 0
  • Travel-associated cases reported: 1,657
  • Laboratory acquired cases reported:  1
  • Total: 1,658
    • Sexually transmitted: 15
    • Guillain-Barré syndrome: 5

US Territories

  • Locally acquired cases reported: 4,729
  • Travel-associated cases reported: 21
  • Total: 4,750*
    • Guillain-Barré syndrome: 17

*Sexually transmitted cases are not reported for areas with local mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus because it is not possible to determine whether infection occurred due to mosquito-borne or sexual transmission.
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States Travel-associated cases*
No. (% of cases in states)
Locally acquired cases†
No. (% of cases in states)
Alabama 9      (1) 0    (0)
Arizona 10      (1) 0    (0)
Arkansas 5      (<1) 0    (0)
California 87    (5) 0    (0)
Colorado 18    (1) 0    (0)
Connecticut 38    (2) 0    (0)
Delaware 10    (1) 0    (0)
District of Columbia 10    (1) 0    (0)
Florida 307  (19) 0    (0)
Georgia 41    (2) 0    (0)
Hawaii 10    (1) 0    (0)
Illinois 29    (2) 0    (0)
Indiana 15    (1) 0    (0)
Iowa 9      (1) 0    (0)
Kansas 6      (<1) 0    (0)
Kentucky 10    (1) 0    (0)
Louisiana 9      (1) 0    (0)
Maine 7      (<1) 0    (0)
Maryland 48    (3) 0    (0)
Massachusetts 52    (3) 0    (0)
Michigan 14    (1) 0    (0)
Minnesota 21    (1) 0    (0)
Mississippi 11    (1) 0    (0)
Missouri 8      (<1) 0    (0)
Montana 1      (<1) 0    (0)
Nebraska 4      (<1) 0    (0)
Nevada 11    (1) 0    (0)
New Hampshire 7      (<1) 0    (0)
New Jersey 50    (3) 0    (0)
New Mexico 3      (<1) 0    (0)
New York 449  (27) 0    (0)
North Carolina 21    (1) 0    (0)
North Dakota 1      (<1) 0    (0)
Ohio 26    (2) 0    (0)
Oklahoma 13    (1) 0    (0)
Oregon 12    (1) 0    (0)
Pennsylvania†† 48    (3) 0    (0)
Rhode Island 16    (1) 0    (0)
South Carolina 26    (2) 0    (0)
Tennessee 16    (1) 0    (0)
Texas 76    (5) 0    (0)
Utah 6      (<1) 0    (0)
Vermont 6      (<1) 0    (0)
Virginia 48    (3) 0    (0)
Washington 14    (1) 0    (0)
West Virginia 9      (1) 0    (0)
Wisconsin 11    (1) 0    (0)
Territories Travel-associated cases*
No. (% of cases in territories)
Locally acquired cases†
No. (% of cases in territories)
American Samoa 2      (10) 42      (1)
Puerto Rico 18    (86) 4,666 (99)
US Virgin Islands 1      (5) 21      (<1)

*Travelers returning from affected areas, their sexual contacts, or infants infected in utero
†Presumed local mosquito-borne transmission
†† One additional case acquired through laboratory transmission

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