ZIKA VIRUS DISEASE (Zika) is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.
The most common symptoms of Zika are: fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).
The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects.
Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
Clothing and PPE
When in areas with high probability of exposure to insects or other diseases spread by mosquitoes, take the following steps:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. Choosing an EPA-registered repellent ensures the Environmental Protection Agency has evaluated the product for effectiveness. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
- Always follow the label instructions on spray repellents, reapplying the product as directed.
- Do not spray insect repellent on the skin under clothing.
- If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
No vaccine is currently available to prevent Zika virus. Medical advice should be sought post exposure or when an illness is expected. Other treatment alternatives are (but not limited to):
- Get plenty of rest and drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
- To reduce fever or pain, take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or paracetamol.
- Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) until Dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding.
- If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
- If you have Zika, prevent mosquito bites for the first week of your illness. During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
For more information about the Zika virus visit the Center for Disease Control site or the KDHE home page listed below: