What is Zika?
Zika is a virus and an illness.
Certain mosquitoes carry the virus and transmit it to people. The illness itself is usually mild, but experts are concerned about how it may affect pregnant women. Doctors in Brazil are investigating a possible link between Zika in pregnant women and birth defects in their babies. (They're particularly concerned about the recent rise in cases of microcephaly, a birth defect in which a baby's head is smaller than expected and the brain has not developed properly, sometimes leading to problems such as seizures and delayed development.)
Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Knowledge of the link between Zika and these outcomes is evolving, but until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for the following groups:
Women who are pregnant (in any trimester):
Consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
Women who are trying to become pregnant:
Before you travel, talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection.Strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip
Specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time.
Symptoms of Zika
Symptoms commonly include a rash, fever, joint pain, and pink eye (conjunctivitis). Less common are muscle pain, headache, pain behind the eyes, and vomiting. Symptoms tend to last up to a week.
How to tell if you have Zika
If you're pregnant and think you're having symptoms of Zika, call your healthcare provider. Your provider may order blood tests to look for Zika and other similar viruses.
How Zika is treated
There is no medicine for Zika. Your provider will probably suggest treating the illness in these simple ways:
Get plenty of rest.Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration.Take acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain. (Don't take NSAIDS like ibuprofen or aspirin.)
How to protect yourself against Zika
There's no vaccine to prevent Zika. When traveling to countries where Zika or other viruses spread by mosquitoes have been reported, take these steps to avoid getting bitten:
Use insect repellent. (Find out which ones are safe during pregnancy.)Wear long sleeves and pants.Stay in places that have air conditioning or have screens on windows and doors