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Zika Virus

The Zika virus, first identified in 1947, has recently become a worldwide threat. It is not described in your text because it did not become a major public health problem until 2015. This update includes basic information about Zika abstracted from the following CDC websites. Access either of the two websites to get additional information about Zika.

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/zika/about/questions.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/zika/about/index.html

What is Zika?

Zika virus disease is caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting up to a week, and many people do not have symptoms or will have only mild symptoms. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe brain defects (CDC website 1).

How do people get infected with Zika?

Zika is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). A pregnant woman can pass Zika to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth (CDC website 1). Also, a person with Zika can pass it to his or her sex partners. People who have traveled to or live in places with Zika should protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika (CDC website 1).

What can you do to prevent Zika?

The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites:

Zika can be spread by infected individuals to their sex partners. People whose sex partners have traveled to or live in an area with Zika can prevent Zika by using condoms and other barrier methods correctly every time they have sex or by not having sex (CDC website 1).

Source: C. B. Corbin, (August 2016) Based on information from web sites above.