Zika Virus Disease

Zika virus disease is caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito.

The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting up to a week, and many people do not have symptoms or will have only mild symptoms.

The most common symptoms of Zika are:

  • fever
  • rash
  • joint pain
  • red eyes

Other symptoms include:

  • muscle pain
  • headache

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.

To diagnose Zika, your doctor will ask you about recent travel and symptoms you may have, and collect blood or urine to test for Zika or similar viruses.

Zika Virus and Pregnancy

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe brain defects.

For women who do not want to become pregnant, OB/GYNs and other health care providers should discuss strategies to prevent unintended pregnancy and provide counseling on family planning and the use of contraceptive methods. Safety, effectiveness, availability, and acceptability should be considered when selecting a contraceptive method(s).

Both women who are diagnosed with Zika virus disease and asymptomatic women with possible exposure to Zika virus should wait at least 8 weeks from symptom onset or exposure to attempt pregnancy. Their male partners with possible Zika virus exposure, regardless of symptom status, should wait to attempt pregnancy until at least 6 months after symptom onset (if symptomatic) or last possible Zika virus exposure (if asymptomatic). Those who are not planning such delay should talk with their health care providers.

Learn more about the confirmed areas with Zika from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).