Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe neurological defects in both the fetus and newborn. It has also been associated with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
How is Zika Virus transmitted?
- Through mosquito bites: 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.
- From mother to child: A pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy.
- Through sexual contact: Zika virus can be spread between sex partners. In known cases of sexual transmission, the virus can spread whether or not the partner has symptoms. If the partner has symptoms, transmission can occur before symptoms start, at time of symptoms, and after symptoms end.
Symptoms of Zika
- Most people infected with Zika virus won’t experience symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. Symptoms appear within a few days to a week after becoming 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, and very rarely die of Zika.
- Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week but can be present longer. The virus is also found in urine and other body fluids.
- Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
Protection During Pregnancy
If you think you or your partner have been exposed to the Zika virus
- When you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex, use a condom or other barriers from start to finish every time you have sex during the pregnancy.
Other preventative measures
- Pregnant women and their partners should take strict precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
- Delay travel to areas where the Zika virus is present.
- Talk to your healthcare provider before traveling to areas where Zika virus is spreading.
You Are At Risk for Zika
- If you plan to travel to Zika infected areas. For a complete list visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-information.
- If you have unprotected sex with a partner who has been exposed to the Zika virus.
- There is currently no vaccine or medication to prevent Zika virus infection.
- The Aedes species mosquito that spread Zika, dengue, and chikungunya have few occurrences in Pennsylvania and are even more rare in Erie County. Not all mosquitoes carry Zika.
For more information on Zika, visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/
This is a "Health Update: which provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.