By now you’ve likely seen news reports about the Zika virus. It’s a virus that primarily spreads from the bite of mosquitoes that have already bitten a person who has the virus. Not every species of mosquito can carry the virus.
The virus was first seen in humans in Africa. It was first diagnosed in people in the Western Hemisphere in 2013. It was identified in Chile in 2014.
The current cases of Zika in the U.S. are seen in people who were bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus in areas where Zika is present (primarily Central and South America). They have then traveled to the U.S.
At this time, there are no reports of individuals who were bit by the mosquito that carries this virus in the U.S. There are no reports of mosquitoes carrying this virus in the U.S. The mosquito that can carry the disease is common in the U.S. only in Florida, along the Gulf Coast, and in Hawaii. However, it has been found as far north as Washington, D.C., in hot weather.
The virus is normally spread by mosquitoes, but there has been one report of possible spread through blood transfusion and one of possible spread through sex.
In most cases of Zika, people have no symptoms. Only one in five will exhibit symptoms from the virus, which can include:
A severe case requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Deaths are rare.
If you’re pregnant and planning to travel to a tropical climate or Central or South America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers specific guidance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers the following general information:
If you have a baby or child:
Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
If you have questions about Zika, visit the CDC’s Zika Virus pages or see your health care provider.