What is zika virus disease?

Zika Virus Disease

What are the symptoms of Zika virus?

Most people infected with Zika don't have any symptoms. Symptoms are usually mild. They most often start within a week after the bite. The main symptoms may include:

  • Fever.
  • Rash.
  • Painful joints.
  • Red eyes.

Some people also have a headache and muscle pain.

How is Zika virus treated?

There is no treatment for Zika virus. Symptoms usually go away on their own after about a week.

Treating your symptoms may help you feel better.

  • Ask your doctor before you take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • Get extra rest.
  • To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids. Choose water and other clear liquids until you feel better. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.

How can you prevent Zika virus?

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. But you can protect yourself from mosquito bites, especially when you travel.

  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
  • Use insect repellent with DEET. You can buy it in different strengths up to 100%. Experts suggest that it is safe to use a repellent that contains 10% to 30% DEET on children older than 2 months.
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and are concerned about using DEET, talk with your doctor.
  • Spray clothing with DEET. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. (Remember that DEET can harm plastic, such as parts of watches, eyeglass frames, and some fabrics.)
  • Sleep under mosquito netting.
  • Use flying-insect spray indoors around sleeping areas.
  • Do not leave puddles or open containers of water near where you are staying. Mosquitoes breed in standing water.
  • Avoid areas where there is an outbreak, especially if you are pregnant.

If you have been to an area where there is a Zika outbreak, use condoms or do not have sex for at least 2 months for women and 3 months for men.

If you do get infected with Zika, protect yourself from mosquito bites for at least 3 weeks to prevent the spread of the virus. Men should use condoms or not have sex for at least 3 months after symptoms begin. Women should use condoms or not have sex for at least 2 months after symptoms begin. This will help prevent the virus from spreading to other people.

How is Zika virus spread?

Zika is most often spread through a bite from an infected mosquito. It can be spread by someone who has the Zika virus through sexual contact, even if the infected person does not have symptoms.

Travelers who have Zika can spread it when they come home or travel to another area. If they get bitten, they can spread the virus to other mosquitoes.

A pregnant woman who gets infected with Zika can pass it to her unborn baby.

What is Zika virus?

Zika is a type of virus that is spread by mosquitoes. The mosquitoes that carry Zika are most active during the day but can bite at night.

You're more likely to get the virus if you travel to parts of the world where it's more common. This includes parts of South America, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands.

Most people infected with Zika don't have any symptoms. When symptoms are present, they include fever, rash, painful joints, and red eyes. But it can be more serious for women who are pregnant because it can cause birth defects.

Experts have found that infection with Zika virus can cause Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). But only a small number of people who are infected with Zika virus will get GBS.

To learn more

Doctors are quickly learning more about what happens when people are infected with Zika virus. The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have the most current information about Zika virus. If you plan to travel, you can learn about your risk in the area you're traveling to. Contact:

  • The CDC at its toll-free phone number (1-800-232-4636) or website (www.cdc.gov/zika/).
  • Your doctor or local health department.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.