Hot Topic: What is Zika?
What is Zika?
Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus, which is spread by a mosquito bite from an Aedes mosquito. It can also be spread from person to person by having unprotected sex with someone who has Zika. It has existed since 1947 in Africa and Asia, but has only been in the Americas since 2007.
Zika infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly, a serious birth defect which causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and brain damage. Zika has spread to more than 45 countries, including those in the Caribbean, Central and South America, and the Pacific Islands/Oceania.
Zika Stats (through April 2018)
- Cases in U.S states: 5,676
- Cases in Maryland: 245
- Cases in Baltimore: 24
*The only states with locally acquired cases (persons who got Zika not from traveling to another country, but from mosquitoes in their state ) are Florida (Miami-Dade County) and Texas (Brownsville).
What are the signs and symptoms?
Most people with Zika don’t have symptoms at all. About 1 in 5 people will have symptoms such as fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red/ pink eyes) or headaches. Most people will have a mild infection, which require no hospitalization and goes away on its own.
Is there a vaccine for Zika?
No, there is no vaccine to prevent getting Zika.
What can you do to protect yourself?
- Use insect repellent on anyone over the age of 2 months (it is safe to use insect repellent when pregnant)
- Wear light weight long sleeve shirts and pants to protect arms and legs from bites
- Use condoms during sex to prevent sexual transmission of Zika
- Use screens on windows and doors and repair holes in screens
- Get rid of standing water around your home and cover trashcans
- If you are pregnant or want to get pregnant, do not travel to areas with Zika
- Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you were exposed to Zika. Check www.cdc.gov/zika to see where Zika is spreading and updated travel warnings
- If returning from traveling to an area with Zika, protect yourself from mosquito bites for at least 3 weeks
- If returning from traveling to an area with Zika, men should use condoms for 6 months. Non-pregnant women should use condoms for 8 weeks. Pregnant women should use condoms for the rest of their pregnancy
What mosquitoes can transmit Zika? And where are they in the U.S ?
Aedes aegypti mosquito