What is Zika virus?

Zika virus is a disease that is spread from person to person through the bite of an infected mosquito. About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick. For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild. Therefore, many people may not realize they have been infected. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital. It is also very rare that people die of Zika virus. The CDC has issued an alert for travel to areas where Zika virus is spreading. Travelers who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should consult a doctor.

The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. Symptoms typically begin two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.The incubation period for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week. Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week but it can be found longer in some people.

Zika is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. These types of mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters and they can also bite at night. 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. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. The CDC is currently studying how some mothers can pass the virus to their babies.

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.There is no vaccine or specific medicine to treat Zika virus infections.

Treating Zika virus is done by treating the symptoms. This includes:

·       Get plenty of rest.

·       Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.

·       Take medicine such as acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain.

·       Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

·       If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.