Zika virus is most often spread to people through mosquito bites, primarily in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Most people infected with the Zika virus have no signs and symptoms. Some people have mild fever, rash and muscle pain. In rare cases, the Zika virus may cause brain or nervous system complications, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, even in people who never show symptoms of infection. Infection with the Zika virus is also called Zika, Zika fever or Zika virus disease.
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that is transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day. It was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. It was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. No vaccine is yet available for the prevention or treatment of Zika virus infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States, Zika is linked to birth defects. Its infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly that is a sign of incomplete brain development.
Infection with the Zika viruss may be suspected based on symptoms of persons living in or visiting areas with Zika viruss transmission and/or Aedes mosquito vectors. A diagnosis of Zika viruss infection can only be confirmed by laboratory tests of blood or other body fluids, such as urine or semen, as per WHO.
As many as 4 out of 5 people infected with the Zika viruss have no signs or symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they usually begin two to 14 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms usually last about a week, and most people recover fully.
Signs and symptoms of the Zika viruss most commonly include:
Joint pain, particularly in the hands or feet
Red eyes (conjunctivitis)
Other signs and symptoms may include:
Fatigue or a general feeling of discomfort
Zika viruss is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. Zika viruss disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day.
Zika viruss is primarily transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti, in tropical and subtropical regions. Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day, peaking during early morning and late afternoon/evening. This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
The Zika viruss is most often spread to a person through the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquitoes that are known to carry the virus include two aedes species mosquitoes, which can be found throughout the world.
When a mosquito bites a person who is already infected with the Zika viruss, the virus infects the mosquito. Then, when the infected mosquito bites another person, the virus enters that person’s bloodstream and causes an infection.
During pregnancy, the Zika viruss can also spread from a mother to the fetus.
The virus can also spread from one person to another through sexual contact. In some cases, people contract the virus through blood transfusion or organ donation.