Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes. Prior to 2015, Zika virus outbreaks have occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
CDC has issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If you are planning to travel to areas where Zika Virus is active in ongoing transmission you are advised to obtain and use insect repellants that contain DEET. Women, in particular those who already are pregnant or may become pregnant during or immediately after travel to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission, are advised to obtain and use insect repellants that contain DEET during the duration of their time abroad or are advised to reconsider travel to these areas.
How Is Zika Virus Spread?
Zika virus is spread to person to person through mosquito bites.
What are Symptoms of Zika Virus?
The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are:
- joint pain,
- conjunctivitis (red eyes).
The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
The virus is spread by the Yellow Fever Mosquito (Aedes aegypti) mosquito and can also be spread by the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) mosquito.
It is estimated that the virus infects 1 in 5 people exposed to infected mosquitoes.
Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult to determine how the virus will spread over time.
Zika virus and Mosquito breeding sources. Tips for how to eliminate mosquito breeding sources around your home.
Examples of mosquito breeding sources. Eliminate these altogether or treat with a mosquito larvacide. Any source of water that can hold water for more than 7 days can breed mosquitoes.
Breeding source elimination and self protection tips to reduce exposure to mosquitoes.
Guidance for Obstetrical Health Care Providers
Zika in the United States and its territories
No locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in the continental United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers.
Locally transmitted Zika virus has been reported in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
With the recent outbreaks, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase.
These imported cases could result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the United States.
The World Health Organization has advised that the Zika Virus will become active in nearly every nation in the Western Hemisphere with the exception of Canada and Peru.
Zika Virus transmission in the U.S. may be dependent upon several factors. Individuals infected abroad may return with the virus. Once they return and they become ill they would need to be fed upon by either an Aedes aegypti mosquito or an Aedes albopictus mosquito. Those mosquitoes then become infected and are capable of spreading it to other persons if they need to obtain more blood meals. Factors encouraging the spread of Zika locally would be determined by the availability of Aedes aegypti (not currently in Missouri) or the Aedes albopictus. Currently found in Missouri. Other factors include the availability of air conditioning and window screens. These alone can help reduce the potential for a local outbreak of the virus. However individuals who travel abroad and return home then become ill are encouraged to use DEET based insect repellent to reduce the potential of being used by mosquitoes as a source for blood meals and encouraged to stay indoors during the period in which they can infect mosquitoes. (the first week of their illness)