Zika Virus: What You Need to Know
Zika virus is a disease you can get from being bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus or from having unprotected sex. It can cause mild symptoms like fever, rash, eye redness, and joint pain that lasts for about 1 week. Some people don’t notice any symptoms. A blood test is the only way to confirm that someone has the virus.
Not all mosquitoes carry the Zika virus. But a pregnant woman who gets Zika (PDF) can pass the virus to her unborn baby. This can cause certain birth defects. That’s why Zika should be taken seriously.
There is no vaccine or medicine to prevent the Zika virus. The best protection against the virus is to avoid getting mosquito bites during the summer:
- Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants when outside.
- Use an insect repellent approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Keep doors and windows closed or make sure there are properly fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out.
- Empty water that collects in things like planters, old tires, buckets, and pools so mosquitoes can’t lay eggs in them.
- Avoid unprotected sex.
More cases of Zika virus are showing up in the United States. That’s why everyone needs to know about the potential danger. If you are pregnant and think you have been exposed to Zika, call your provider.
Please go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information.