Zika virus: What you need to know

Agnesian HealthCare Work and Wellness
definition of zika

definition of zika

Written by: Agnesian Work & Wellness Medical Director

Zika virus infection is a disease caused by Zika virus. It is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito (Aedes aegypti) which also transmits dengue and chikungunya viruses. Infected pregnant women can pass the virus to their fetus during pregnancy or at time of delivery leading to microcephaly and fetal loss. Sexual transmission of Zika virus can occur. An infected male may spread the virus before symptoms manifest, when symptoms are present and after symptoms have resolved. It may also be transmitted through blood products (none confirmed in the United States).

Symptoms: Most people are not sick enough to seek medical attention. Only about 20 percent of people will manifest symptoms. Many people infected may not realize it. It presents as a mild illness lasting few days to a week. Common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Treatment: Symptomatic relief – rest, rehydration with oral fluids, acetaminophen to decrease fever and pain. No non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding.

Prevention: There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika virus. Insect precautions recommended: - long-sleeved shirts; long pants; insect repellants; mosquito net bed, window and door screens. If infected or exposed abstain from sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal and oral) or use condoms. (at least eight weeks if asymptomatic and six months if symptomatic). No local mosquito-borne transmission reported in the United States, but travel–associated cases. Travel consultations required before travel outside the United States.


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