Zika virus is a disease primarily transmitted by mosquitoes. The disease has historically occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia and islands in the Pacific Ocean. In May 2015, Zika virus was found for the first time in the Western Hemisphere in northeastern Brazil. The virus has since spread through much of the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
There have been no reported cases of Zika virus disease transmission through mosquito bites in Ohio or anywhere else in the continental United States at this time. However, cases have been reported in travelers returning to the United States from Zika virus-affected countries.
How Zika Spreads?
Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). The mosquitoes that spread Zika can bite at day and night. Zika virus can also spread
• During sex with a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners.
• From a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth.
• Through blood transfusion (likely but not confirmed).
What are the symptoms of Zika virus infection?
About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus will develop symptoms. Illness from Zika virus is usually mild, and most people feel better within a week. Symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle pain and headache.
Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon, and deaths are rare. Rare complications may include Guillain-Barré syndrome (neurologic abnormalities) following a Zika virus infection.
Why Zika is Risky for Some People?
Zika infection during pregnancy can microcephal yand other birth defects. Microcephaly is a birth defect in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. There have also been increased reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system, in areas affected by Zika.
How is a Zika virus infection treated?
There is no specific treatment for a Zika virus infection. Treat the symptoms by getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids to stay hydrated and taking medications to reduce fever and pain such as acetaminophen. Avoid taking aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. If you are pregnant, contact your obstetrician or prenatal care provider for additional follow-up.