Zika Virus – Other Common Questions

CDC Zika Virus Information

CDC Zika Virus Information

Zika Virus – Other Common Questions

In an effort to provide our Support Circle clients with information on Zika virus, a virus that has garnered much media attention due to the potential effects on the fetus, we have compiled this list of information directly from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website.

How is Zika transmitted?

Zika is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes, the same mosquitoes that spread Chikungunya and dengue. These 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. Men and women with a pregnant partner should use a condom or abstain from intercourse for the duration of the pregnancy. The virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Spread of the virus through blood transfusion and sexual contact have been reported.

Update July 2016: There is an increased need for women in the U.S. to take precautions to reduce their chances of becoming infected with Zika if pregnant. According to the CDC, there have been over 1,300 reported cases of Zika virus in the United States, including 14 sexually transmitted cases. In U.S. Territories, there have been over 2,900 reported cases of Zika infected people. There have been over 645 cases of pregnant women reported to have Zika in the United States and U.S. Territories.

What are the symptoms of Zika?

About one in five people infected with Zika will get sick. For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms typically begin two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.

Does Zika in pregnant women cause birth defects?

Brazil has been having a significant outbreak of Zika virus since May 2015. Officials in Brazil have also noted an increase in the number of babies with congenital microcephaly (a birth defect in which the size of a baby’s head is smaller than expected for age and sex) during that time. Congenital microcephaly is often a sign of the brain not developing normally during pregnancy. Health authorities in Brazil, with assistance from the Pan American Health Organization, CDC, and other agencies, have been investigating the possible association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly. Additional studies are needed to determine the degree to which Zika might be linked with microcephaly.

More lab testing and other studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy. Because of the possible association between Zika infection and microcephaly, pregnant women should take steps to prevent mosquito bites.

How do I find the most recent CDC updates?

Visit the CDC’s website for more information about the Zika virus: http://www.cdc.gov/zika.

How to Protect Against Zika Virus

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