Zika Virus

Oklahoma State Department of Health Acute Disease Service Public Health Fact Sheet

What is Zika? Zika is a viral disease caused by the Zika virus.

Where does Zika occur? Zika occurs in many tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world, particularly in Africa, Southeast Asia, and islands in the Pacific Ocean. The first report of local transmission of Zika virus in the Western Hemisphere occurred in Brazil during May 2015. Since that time, local transmission has been identified in numerous countries and territories in the Americas. Local transmission of Zika virus is not currently occurring in the United States; however, cases have been reported among individuals who have traveled outside the U.S. to affected areas.

How do people get infected with Zika? The Aedes species mosquitoes transmit the Zika virus. They most frequently bite during the daytime, both indoors and outdoors. They are most active during the early morning and late afternoon. The Aedes mosquito is found in Oklahoma, but has not been infected with the Zika virus. The virus can be found in the blood stream of infected people during the first 7 days of infection and during that time it has the potential to be picked up from an the infected person by a mosquito. That infected mosquito could then transmit the virus to other people through a mosquito bite. In addition, there is evidence to suggest that the virus can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, sexual transmission, as well as perinatal (mother-to-fetus) transmission.

What are the symptoms and how soon after infection do they occur? Symptoms occur in 20 to 25 percent of individuals that are infected. If symptoms develop, the most common are fever, rash, conjunctivitis (red eyes) or joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache and muscle pain. Symptoms usually begin 2 - 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, and last several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and death is rare. Symptoms can be similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that spread Zika.

What’s the relationship between Zika virus and microcephaly in newborns? There is a possible association between Zika and microcephaly in newborns. It is suspected that pregnant women who contract Zika virus through the bite of an infected mosquito are at risk of the fetal birth defect. However, there are many causes of microcephaly in babies, and whether Zika virus infection causes fetal microcephaly has not been confirmed. Studies are needed to understand this possible relationship.

What is microcephaly? Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. During a pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly can occur because the baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size.

Babies with microcephaly can have a range of other problems, depending on the severity of the microcephaly. Microcephaly has been linked with the following problems: - Seizures - Developmental delay, such as problems with speech or other developmental milestones (sitting, standing, and walking) - Intellectual disability (decreased ability to learn and function in daily life) - Problems with movement and balance - Feeding problems, such as difficulty swallowing - Hearing loss - Vision problems These problems can range from mild to severe and are often lifelong.

What are the current travel recommendations? Refer to the CDC Traveler’s Health website for current information on travel advisories. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/ travel

If I am pregnant is it safe to travel? It is recommended that pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to any area where transmission of the Zika virus is ongoing. If a person is pregnant or trying to become pregnant, and going to travel to one of these areas, it is important to consult with your doctor and to follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.

If a women is not pregnant and bitten by a mosquito that is infected with Zika virus, will future pregnancies be at risk? No. Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for up to a week. Babies conceived after the virus has cleared the blood are no longer at risk for infection.

What’s the relationship between Zika virus and Guillain-Barré Syndrome? Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare autoimmune disease affecting the nervous system leading to muscle weakness. Cases of GBS were reported among persons infected with Zika in the French Polynesia outbreak that occurred during 2013-2014, and an increase of GBS cases has recently been noted in Brazil and El Salvador where Zika outbreaks are ongoing. Whether Zika virus infection causes GBS is still not clear; further research is needed to determine if a possible relationship exists.

What is the treatment for Zika? There is no vaccine available or medicine to treat Zika virus. Symptoms may improve with rest, drinking fluids, and/or taking medication to relieve fever and pain. Speak to your healthcare provider for specific recommendations.

What should I do if I think I (or someone I know) might be infected with Zika virus? Contact your healthcare provider and notify them of any recent travel (especially outside of the US) and mosquito exposure. This is particularly important for women who are pregnant or of child bearing age. There are other causes of these symptoms. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine if testing is recommended to identify the cause.

If you are sick with fever and joint pain after returning from an area where Zika occurs, contact your healthcare provider and avoid mosquito bites during the seven days from onset of symptoms to prevent possible spread of the virus.

How can I reduce the chance of getting infected with Zika during international travel? 1. Research your travel destination to determine if there are any Zika virus travel advisories. 2. Reduce mosquito exposure in the following ways when traveling to affected areas: - Keep windows closed and use air conditioning. Or if open, use window/door screens; - Use mosquito repellents containing 15% DEET, 15% picaridin, 15% IR3535, or 30% oil of lemon eucalypts according to product instructions OR wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants; - Wear permethrin-treated clothing; - Use mosquito nets on bedding; and - Empty standing water from outdoor containers. For more information call or visit us on the web: Phone: 405.271.4060 http://ads.health.ok.gov