Zika: What You Need to Know

Zika is transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, aggressive biters that can strike during the day and at night. It has appeared in parts of Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, as well as Central and South America, Mexico and the continental United States. In 2016, mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus was reported in Miami-Dade County, FL, and Cameron County, TX, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anyone who lives in or travels to an area with Zika and has not already been infected can get the disease. Many people won’t show any symptoms, said CDC Deputy Incident Manager Satish Pillai during a webinar hosted by the National Safety Council.

Others will have mild symptoms, including fever, rash, conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) and muscle pain or headache lasting two to seven days, that can be treated with rest, fluids and acetaminophen, according to the World Health Organization.

Scientific consensus is that Zika causes microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. In infants, a small head due to abnormal brain development is the defining characteristic of microcephaly. Guillain-Barré, characterized by the body’s immune system attacking the peripheral nervous system, typically affects adults and can result in paralysis.

In an infographic, the CDC highlights Things Everyone Needs to Know About Zika:

  • Zika can be sexually transmitted; if your partner lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika, it is recommended you abstain from sex for a period ranging from eight weeks to six months.
  • Pregnant women should not travel to areas with Zika
  • During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be passed from an infected person to a mosquito, which can then can spread the disease to others
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