What is Zika?
Zika is a virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters.
80 percent of people infected with Zika do not have symptoms. Of the 20 percent who do experience symptoms, they usually include a fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Other symptoms may include muscle pain and a headache. Symptoms can last for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Often, the symptoms are not bad enough to require a doctor’s visit or hospitalization, and many do not even realize that they have been infected.
How do people get Zika?
- Mosquito Bites
Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.
- Mother to Child
A mother who becomes infected with Zika can pass on the virus to her developing child.
- Blood Transfusion
There have not been any reported blood transfusion transmission cases in the U.S.
- Sexual Contact
Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his/her sex partners. If your partner has been to an area with Zika, use condoms. For women, use condoms for at least 8 weeks. For men, use condoms for at least 6 months.
What are the risks of Zika?
Zika can be passed by a pregnant woman infected with Zika to her fetus. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause fetuses to have a birth defect of the brain called microcephaly, a condition in which the fetus or baby has a smaller head than normal. Other problems have been detected in infants infected with Zika before birth such as defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth.
Two species of Aedes are capable of transmitting Zika and neither have been found in Butte County. Therefore, local mosquito-borne transmission would not occur in this area. However, if you are traveling to a Zika impacted country, wear insect repellent whenever you are outdoors. If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, do not travel to areas with Zika. Check the CDC’s website for a continuing increasing list of Zika infected countries and territories.
Prevent Mosquito Bites
Zika virus is spread to people mainly through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Wear repellent and long sleeves if mosquitoes are present. The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Plan for Travel
Currently, Zika outbreaks are occurring in many countries and territories, especially in parts of Mexico, Central and South America. There has been some Zika virus transmission in Florida and Texas. The areas in the U.S. where Zika virus is found may expand, and it is very important to check before making travel plans if you or your partner is pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
Pregnant women are advised to avoid traveling to areas with Zika virus transmission and to strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites. Pregnant women should talk with their physician before travelling to a Zika area and upon their return for monitoring.
Eliminate Standing Water
These two mosquito species lay eggs in containers that hold water around the home. Remove water from tires, buckets, flowerpot saucers, birdbaths, or anything holding water for more than a few days.