Zika Virus Information


What is the Zika Virus?

  • Zika is a virus that is transmitted by mosquitos. It was identified in humans in 1956 in Africa, but has since spread and become common in South America, Latin America, Caribbean, and Pacific countries.

  • Most people (80%) who contract Zika usually have no symptoms.  The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.  Symptoms develop from 3-12 days after being infected and last from several days to a week.   


    How is Zika transmitted?

  • Zika is transmitted through the bite of mosquitoes that live in warm climates.  Transmission from mosquitoes has occurred throughout South America, Latin America (including Mexico), all of the Caribbean countries, and Pacific island countries.

  • No cases of mosquito transmission has occurred in the United States.    

  • Zika has also been identified in the semen of men who have been infected.

  • Transmission to a female through sexual contact with a male has been reported.  


    Why is everyone concerned?

  • Zika can be passed from a mother to her fetus during pregnancy.   Infection with Zika during pregnancy is linked to birth defects in babies.   

  • There is no vaccine to prevent, or medicine to treat Zika.

  • Zika can also be transmitted from a man to his sex partners.


    Who is at risk of getting Zika?

  • Anyone traveling to the affected countries are at risk of contracting it.   A woman can also contract Zika by having intercourse with a man who traveled to the affected countries.


    How can I prevent contracting Zika?

  • The best protection is to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Clothing:  Wear long sleeved shirts and pants.  Treat clothing with permethrin sprays.  These are treatments for clothing only and should not be applied to skin.

  • Indoor protection:  Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window/door screens

  • Repellent:  Use EPA-registered repellents containing DEET.  When used as directed, these are safe and effective for pregnant women.  Follow the label instructions and reapply as directed.   If using sunscreen also, apply the sunscreen before applying insect repellent.


    What is not known about Zika?

  • If there is a safe time during pregnancy to travel to an area with Zika Whether Zika can be transmitted through oral sex or only by intercourse.

  • If you are pregnant and contract Zika, how likely it is that the virus will infect your fetus and if you baby will have birth defects from the infection

  • How long the virus may remain in the semen of men after infection


    What if I am already pregnant?

  • Avoid travel to areas affected by the Zika virus unless absolutely necessary.   If travel is necessary, use long sleeve/pant clothing and mosquito repellent during daytime and night time hours.   

  • If a male sexual partner must travel to Zika affected area:  It is recommended that he also use prevention steps above and to use condoms or abstain from intercourse for the duration of the pregnancy, even if he did not develop any symptoms.

  • Let your Ob know about your possible exposures to zika.  Guidelines for testing and screening have been developed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).


    What if I am trying to be pregnant?

  • If traveling to an affected area, it is recommended that patients not attempt to conceive during their travel and for one month after their return.  This allows for a virus incubation period of up to two weeks, and a possible two week viremia (presence of virus in the bloodstream).  After this, they can resume attempts to conceive.

  • For women with a male partner who has traveled to an area with Zika virus, it is recommended that pregnancy be avoided and condoms used for one month after his return if he has not had any symptoms or for 6 months if symptoms compatible with Zika developed during/soon after the travel period.


    Sources: cdc.gov/zika;  Public Health England




Central  America






Costa Rica*

American Bolivia*


Cape Verde*







Brazil*       Fiji





Guatemala* Colombia*





Honduras* Ecuador*



Dominican Republic*


Mexico*                       Samoa*





Nicaragua* Guyana*




Panama*     Paraguay* Tonga*



                   Suriname* Vanuatu





Puerto Rico*

Saint Martin*

Sint Maarten* St Vincent and the Grenadines*

Trinidad and Tobago* US Virgin








* Areas with active transmission in the last two months