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5 Things You Really Need to Know About Zika

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5 Things You Really Need to Know About Zika Virus

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. Here are 5 things that you really need to know about the Zika virus.

Zika is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Many areas in the United States have the type of mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread Zika virus. To date, there have been no reports of Zika being spread by mosquitoes in the continental United States. However, cases have been reported in travelers to the United States. With the recent outbreaks in the Americas, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase.

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

The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites.Zika_prevent mosquito bites

Protect yourself from mosquitoes by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.  Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old. Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs. Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.

Read more about how to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Infection with Zika during pregnancy is linked to birth defects in babies.

Waiting for a baby. Close-up of young pregnant woman touching her abdomen while sitting on the couchZika virus can pass from a mother to the fetus during pregnancy, but we are unsure of how often this occurs. There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly (a birth defect in which the size of a baby’s head is smaller than expected for age and sex) in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Additional studies are needed to determine the degree to which Zika is linked with microcephaly. More lab testing and other studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.

We expect that the course of Zika virus disease in pregnant women is similar to that in the general population. No evidence exists to suggest that pregnant women are more susceptible or experience more severe disease during pregnancy.

Because of the possible association between Zika infection and microcephaly, pregnant women should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.

Pregnant women should delay travel to areas where Zika is spreading.

Until more is known, CDC recommends that pregnant women consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus is spreading. If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.

If you have a male partner who lives in or has traveled to an area where Zika is spreading, either do not have sex or use condoms the right way every time during your pregnancy.

For women trying to get pregnant, before you or your male partner travel, talk to your healthcare provider about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection. You and your male partner should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.

Returning travelers infected with Zika can spread the virus through mosquito bites.

Man using insect repellantDuring the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. The infected mosquito must live long enough for the virus to multiply and for the mosquito to bite another person.

Protect your family, friends, neighbors, and community! If you have traveled to a country where Zika has been found, make sure you take the same measures to protect yourself from mosquito bites at home as you would while traveling. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants , use insect repellant, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

For more information on the Zika virus, and for the latest updates, visit www.cdc.gov/zika.

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35 comments on “5 Things You Really Need to Know About Zika”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    Any information on the incubation time from bit to developing infection( if the person will become infected)?

    interesting. we all have to make are contribution towards the fight of this outbreak.
    is there a possibility for Zika virus to develop in Africa?

    Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for only a few days to a week. Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya viruses. Learn more about symptoms, diagnosis & treatment: 1.usa.gov/1Wytb9g

    Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.

    Zika is not a new virus. Outbreaks of Zika virus disease (or Zika) previously have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika virus likely will continue to spread to new areas. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. From May 2015 through January 22, 2016, local transmission has been reported in several other countries and territories. Learn more about Zika 1.usa.gov/1RA9TRC

    There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus disease or medicine to treat it. Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to avoid being bitten. Learn more about prevention: 1.usa.gov/1QbHwpF

    Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.

    About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and deaths are rare. Learn more about symptoms, diagnosis & treatment: 1.usa.gov/1Wytb9g

    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. Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for only a few days to a week.

    Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. Mosquitoes that spread Zika, chikungunya, and dengue are aggressive daytime biters, prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people. Mosquitoes become infected when they bite a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites. Learn more about transmission: 1.usa.gov/1RBYmkP

    For how long can the infected mosquito live to transmit the disease to people?
    which region of the world have suitable vegetation for the living of this mosquito?
    Do the Aedes mosquito breed under the same condition like for mosquitoes that causes Malaria?

    Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are aggressive daytime biters, prefer to bite people and live indoors and outdoors near people. The mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. Outbreaks of Zika virus disease previously have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In 2007, Zika virus caused an outbreak on the island of Yap in the Pacific. This was the first documented transmission outside of its traditional endemic areas in Africa and Asia. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infections in Brazil. Learn more about Zika 1.usa.gov/1RA9TRC

    How long after traveling to a place with zika virus should you wait to try and get pregnant?

    Si me infecto del virus de Zika , puedo obtener inmunidad o puedo volver a reinfectarme claro con la picadura de un mosco infectdo

    The Aedes species mosquito is now a known species in Kentucky. Does that mean we are in more danger than those who only know people who have gotten the disease from outside the country? Or does the mosquito need to have a pool of infected individuals around to keep the disease going? The same for the dengue and chikungunya viruses you noted.

    Aproximadamente 1 de cada 5 personas infectadas por el virus del Zika se enferma (es decir, tendrá zika). Para quienes no presenten síntomas, la única manera de saber si han contraído el virus es a través de un análisis de sangre. Una vez que una persona ha sido infectada, es muy probable que sea inmune a futuras infecciones. Para obtener más información, visite http://espanol.cdc.gov/zika/

    The U.S. mainland does have Aedes species mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread Zika virus. With the recent outbreaks, the number of Zika virus disease cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase. U.S. travelers who visit a country where Zika is found could become infected if bitten by a mosquito. 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. CDC has been monitoring these epidemics and is prepared to address cases imported into the United States and cases transmitted locally.

    I have heard that the Zika can also be spread from human to human? Could you address this?

    Hi Aadil,

    Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus). Mosquitoes become infected when they bite 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. Although mosquito bites are the main way that Zika virus is spread, Zika virus can also spread when an infected man has sex with his partners. In the known cases of likely sexual transmission, the men developed Zika symptoms, but the virus can be transmitted before, during, and after symptoms develop. The virus can be present in semen longer than in blood. Learn more about transmission: 1.usa.gov/1RBYmkP

    I did not see an answer to this question:

    How long after traveling to a place with zika virus should you wait to try and get pregnant?

    Understand the virus has no lasting potential for harm after a week-10 days. So a month later, there is a “normal” risk to getting pregnant vice elevated in the days immediately after travel to Zika area..?

    I am a primary care provider and I believe I have had Zika in the last week. I have many of the symptoms and just returned from Mexico and had 2 mosquito bites. I went to the ER because of the headache and generalized myalgia’s and fever. The lab testing was obtained and sent. Since then my hospital has put me off work seeing patients until the titer comes back. However, I am feeling better and symptoms are gone. Do I have to remain off work and is there documentation I can provide to the Hospital to support my return. I truly understand there is no risk of transmission from me, but I know the Hospital is being very conservative.

    Zika virus disease spreads to people mainly through the bite of infected Aedes species mosquito. There are no reports of transmission of Zika virus from infected patients to healthcare personnel (HCP) or from HCP to patients. CDC recommends Standard Precautions in all healthcare settings to protect both HCP and patients from infection with Zika virus as well as from blood-borne pathogens (e.g., human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] and hepatitis C virus [HCV]). CDC currently does not have any evidence to support excluding infected HCP from performing their normal duty functions.

    Oil of lemon eucalyptus is the only plant-based active ingredient recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for mosquito protection. Oil of lemon eucalyptus provides protection similar to lower concentrations of DEET Bug Shield works great for outdoor outings, but should not be substituted for DEET-based products if you’re traveling in severe insect conditions where Nest Nile virus or malaria may be prevalent. Natures Bug Shield is only made with Lemon Eucalyptus and Soy. Just a few sprays will keep mosquitoes and ticks away for hours. http://www.naturesbugshield.com

    My family and are are planning to travel to Maui,Hawaii for Thanksgiving 2016. Has Zika been reported in Hawaii and is it safe to travel there?

    Currently, no local transmission of Zika virus has been reported in Hawaii. Specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are often difficult to determine and likely to change over time. One option for travelers to consider is purchasing travel insurance, which might ensure that you are able to make a last-minute cancellation or change if Zika spreads. You can learn more about travel insurance at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/insurance. For up-to-date information on Zika in the United States, visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html.

    I still don’t see an answer to this question:

    How long after traveling to a place with Zika virus should you wait to try and get pregnant?

    Understand the virus has no lasting potential for harm after a week-10 days. So a month later, there is a “normal” risk to getting pregnant vice elevated in the days immediately after travel to Zika area..?

    For both men and women considering conceiving without symptoms of Zika virus, but who had possible exposure to Zika from recent travel or sexual contact, CDC recommends waiting at least 8 weeks after the last possible exposure before trying to get pregnant.

    For women and men considering conceiving who have been diagnosed with Zika or who have symptoms of Zika, including fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes, after possible exposure to Zika virus, CDC recommends:
    o Women wait at least 8 weeks after their symptoms first appeared before trying to get pregnant.
    o Men wait at least 6 months after their symptoms first appeared to try to get their female partner pregnant.

    It’s a thought I don’t take lightly and should not be taken as medical advice, but are doctors considering exposing non pregnant people to zika? Then have that person avoid sexual contact for 8 weeks. As a result, giving an individual immunity and assurance of not contracting zika during pregnancy.

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