Zika virus disease (Zika) spreads to people mainly through the bite by two species of infected mosquitoes, one of which is more likely to transmit Zika. In past outbreaks, most people have not gotten sick, so people may not even know they are infected. Based on current knowledge, the greatest risk for complications from Zika is to a pregnant woman’s fetus. If a pregnant woman is infected with Zika, she can pass the virus to her fetus. Zika has been linked to cases of microcephaly, a serious birth defect, and is a sign that the baby is born with a smaller brain, which can result in medical problems and impaired development. Researchers are working to understand more about how Zika affects pregnant women and fetuses.
To protect the pregnancy, couples can:
Check CDC travel guidance; pregnant women should avoid travel to any area with Zika.www.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information.
Talk to her doctor or other healthcare provider first, if she must travel to an area with Zika.
Prevent mosquito bites, including covering up arms and legs and using EPA-registered insect repellent, which is safe to use during pregnancy.
Use latex condoms, the right way, every time or choose not to have any type of sex if the male partner has been in an area with Zika during the pregnancy.
What we know.
There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Zika may spread through mosquito bites in some states later this spring and summer. Based on US experiences with similar viruses (dengue and chikungunya), we know that states, like Florida, Hawaii, and Texas, may well have cases or small clusters of diseases that are spread by infected mosquitoes. Additional states may also be at risk.
Some infected people will get mild symptoms (fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes) for up to a week but most people won’t even know they are infected.
Zika has been linked to microcephaly, a serious birth defect, and is a sign that the baby is born with a smaller brain, which can result in medical problems and impaired development. www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/microcephaly.html
Zika can be passed from an infected man during sex. To date, we have not seen transmission from a woman during sex. The man gets infected by mosquito bite and spreads it to his partner through unprotected sex. This is preventable by using condoms, the right way, every time during all types of sex.
What we don’t yet know yet.
If you’re pregnant: How likely is it that your fetus will have birth defects if infected? When during a woman’s pregnancy is the fetus most vulnerable and when can the virus be detected? How likely are you to get infected with Zika and pass it on?
How often does a man spread Zika through sex and how long does the virus stay in semen?
Which states, with certainty, may be affected by Zika?
For updated information about areas with Zika, go to www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html.