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10 Facts about Zika

by Rosanne Ullman | September 16, 2016
 Getty Images
Getty Images

The Zika virus is on everyone’s radar, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is keeping a close eye on the latest developments. There is still a lot we do not know about Zika, such as how long people remain able to transmit it to others, but here’s a snapshot of what we do know, according to the CDC.

  1. There is no vaccine for Zika.
  2. Zika causes more concern than most other viruses because it is linked to birth defects. During pregnancy, a zika infection can pass from you to your baby, causing your baby to have serious problems that include microcephaly, a sign of incomplete brain development.
  3. Zika primarily spreads through infected mosquitoes These mosquitoes are aggressive and bite both in daytime and at night. 
  4. You also can get Zika from having sex with a partner who is infected with Zika—before, during and after the partner exhibits symptoms. Use a condom to prevent the transmission of Zika. Use a condom during pregnancy if you have sex with a partner who has been in an area with Zika.
  5. The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites. When you go out, apply an EPA-registered insect repellent and wear long sleeves and long pants. Inside, keep screens on your windows, and remove standing water around your home.
  6. Pregnant women are advised not to travel to areas with Zika. If you live in an area with Zika or must travel there, take every precaution to prevent mosquito bites.
  7. Returning travelers infected with Zika can spread the virus through mosquito bites. During the early weeks of infection, a mosquito that bites someone with Zika can spread the virus to the people it bites next. So you can catch Zika even in areas outside the primary Zika zones.
  8. Symptoms of Zika are much like the flu or other viruses—fever, rash, joint pain, headache, muscle aches, red eyes. They last from a few days to about a week.
  9. Zika is easily diagnosed through a blood or urine test. It is treated successfully with rest, fluids and Tylenol.
  10. While Florida is the only U.S. state so far reporting locally contracted cases of Zika, all states except Alaska report cases of patients testing positively. Check the CDC U.S. map.
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