Zika virus infection almost never makes children or adults very sick. But Zika virus is very dangerous to an unborn baby (fetus).
Zika can be spread by mosquitoes, sex, or blood transfusion
A pregnant woman with Zika infection can pass it to her baby
Most people have no symptoms or get only mild symptoms, such as fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes
Babies born to mothers infected with Zika virus may have birth defects of their brain, including an abnormally small head (microcephaly Microcephaly "Micro-" means small, and "-cephaly" refers to the head, so microcephaly is a small head. A baby with microcephaly usually has a small brain, and the brain may not have formed properly Microcephaly... read more )
There's no treatment for Zika virus infection, but rest and acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain can help
The Zika virus is spread mainly by:
Zika virus also can be spread by:
If you're infected with Zika virus, you can spread it to your partner during sex:
The mosquitoes that spread Zika virus live in warmer climates. So most Zika infections occur in South America and the Caribbean. However, people who visit those areas from other parts of the world can return home with a Zika infection.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects of the baby's brain, including an abnormally small head (microcephaly Microcephaly "Micro-" means small, and "-cephaly" refers to the head, so microcephaly is a small head. A baby with microcephaly usually has a small brain, and the brain may not have formed properly Microcephaly... read more ). Babies with microcephaly can have problems such as:
Right now, there's no medicine to cure Zika virus infection.
Doctors will have you:
Don't take aspirin or ibuprofen unless you've seen a doctor and know for sure that you have Zika virus infection. If you have dengue fever Dengue Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that causes fever, generalized body aches, and, if severe, external and internal bleeding (called dengue hemorrhagic fever). About 50 to 100 million... read more , which can have similar symptoms to Zika, taking aspirin or ibuprofen can be dangerous and cause bleeding.
If you're pregnant, doctors may:
The best ways to prevent Zika virus infection are to:
To avoid mosquito bites:
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
Stay in places that have air conditioning or window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out, or use a mosquito bed net
Use insect repellents containing DEET (diethyltoluamide) on uncovered skin—but don't use insect repellents on babies under 2 months old
Treat clothing and gear with permethrin insecticide (don't put it directly on your skin)
Pregnant women should avoid traveling to areas where Zika virus is common (see current Zika Travel Information).
If you're pregnant and your sex partner lives in or travels to a place where Zika virus infection is common, you should do one of the following during the pregnancy:
Don't have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral)
Always use barrier birth control Barrier Contraceptives A contraceptive is something used for preventing pregnancy (birth control). Barrier contraceptives are a type of birth control that works by keeping sperm from getting to an egg. Barrier contraceptives... read more (such as a condom or dental dams) during sex
If your female sex partner has been diagnosed with Zika or has symptoms of Zika, you should do one of the following:
If your male sex partner has been diagnosed with Zika or has symptoms of Zika, you should do one of the following:
Zika virus stays in a man's semen longer than in other body fluids.