Zika Virus FAQs

What is Zika Virus Disease (Zika)?

Zika is a disease caused by the Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.

The Aedes mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters, and they can also bite at night. Infected mosquitoes spread the virus to other people through bites. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth.

Is this a new virus?

No. Outbreaks of Zika previously have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika Virus will likely continue to spread to new areas. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. Since that time, local transmission has been reported in many other countries and territories.

What countries have Zika?

Please visit the CDC Traveler’s Health site for the most updated information on countries currently affected by the virus.

What can people do to prevent becoming infected with Zika?

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Here’s how:

  • we are long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Stay in places with air-conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use EPA registered insect repellants. If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
  • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or buy permethrin-treated times.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
What is the treatment for Zika?

There is no vaccine or specific medicine to treat Zika virus infections. Treat the symptoms including rest, drink fluids, take medicine such as acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain.

Are you immune for life once infected?

Once a person has been infected, he/she is likely to be protected from future infections.