Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.
Given the increase of congenital anomalies, Guillain-¬Barré syndrome, and other neurological and autoimmune syndromes in areas where Zika virus is circulating, the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) recommends its Member States establish and maintain the capacity to detect and confirm Zika virus cases, prepare healthcare facilities to respond to a possible increase demand of specialized care for neurological syndromes, as well to strengthen antenatal care. In addition, Member States are urged to continue with their efforts to reduce the presence of mosquito vectors through an effective vector control strategy and communication to the public.
• About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika).
• The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
• The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
• Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days but it can be found longer in some people.
• Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
• Deaths are rare.
• The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika.
• See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where Zika is found.
• If you have recently traveled, tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled.
• Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya.
• No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections.
• Treat the symptoms:
o Get plenty of rest.
o Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
o Take medicine such as acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain.
o Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen. Aspirin and NSAIDs should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage (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.
o During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites.
o An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
If you feel sick and think you may have Zika:
• Talk to your doctor or nurse if you develop a fever with a rash, joint pain, or red eyes. Tell him or her about your travel.
• Take medicine, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain. Do not take aspirin, products containing aspirin, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
• Get lots of rest and drink plenty of liquids.
• Prevent additional mosquito bites to avoid spreading the disease.