The Zika Virus is a virus primarily spread through infected mosquitoes, though can also be transmitted through sexual contact. Zika is linked to serious birth defects including microcephaly, a condition in which a baby's head is much smaller than expected. Microcephaly can result in a variety of health and development problems, including seizures, intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, problems with balance, trouble feeding, vision problems, and more. Recently the Zika virus has become a significant public health concern as it continues to spread internationally.
Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
Other symptoms include:
- Muscle pain
Symptoms can last for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. Once a person has been infected with Zika, they are likely to be protected from future infections.
How to Prevent Zika
There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Here’s how
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Treat your clothing and gear with permethrin or buy pre-treated items.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients:
DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Always follow the product label instructions.
- When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Do not use insect repellents on babies younger than 2 months old.
- Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.
- Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home.
- Mosquito netting can be used to cover babies younger than 2 months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
- Prevent sexual transmission of Zika by using condoms or not having sex.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
For more information on Zika, visit:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)
The World Health Organization (WHO)