The Zika virus has been in the news a lot lately, and for good reason. Many people that get bitten by a mosquito that carries Zika do not get sick. However, some develop a flu-like illness that lasts for about a week. Zika has been associated with birth defects in newborn children from mothers who were infected with Zika. The CDC has issued travel warnings for many areas, including Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and the Pacific Islands.
Here’s a quick read of the most important facts and a link to the CDC website that has more details:
- Zika is spread by mosquitos, so review our article on mosquito protection (there is no vaccine for Zika).
- There are reports of sexual transmission of Zika from male partners to females, so condom use or abstinence is encouraged for at least a week after a male partner returns from a risk area. In fact, Florida reported its first confirmed case of sexually transmitted Zika virus disease in August 2017. One individual who had not traveled became ill with Zika after that individual’s partner had returned from Cuba, a country with Zika transmission risk. Both individuals tested positive for Zika.
- Pregnant women should reconsider travel to risk areas or discuss this with their doctor.
- There is no medicine that one can take to treat Zika if you get infected. Rather treatment is supportive while the infection runs its course.
Here’s the CDC website for more details on Zika: