Zika is a virus related to the viruses that cause yellow fever and Ebola. Zika virus infection can be spread by mosquito bites or by having unprotected sex.
Infected Aedes mosquitoes can pass the virus when they bite your child. Aedes mosquitoes are found in the US in several southern and central states, as well as in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Africa, southern Europe, and Southeast Asia. This kind of mosquito tends to bite both during daytime and at night. Mosquitos in some parts of the US have infected people with Zika virus.
Zika virus may be spread by contact with infected blood, for example, through blood transfusion, organ transplant, or the sharing of needles or syringes contaminated with blood. Zika virus is spread through sexual contact also. The disease can be spread by people who do not have any symptoms and may not know they carry the virus.
Zika virus may also be spread from a mother to her unborn baby, which can cause serious birth defects. There is no evidence that there is a risk of birth defects in future pregnancies after you have had Zika virus infection.
Often there are no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they usually start 3 to 12 days after a mosquito bite. Symptoms last a few days to a week, and may include:
If a baby is infected before birth, the baby may be born with a small head and a brain that has not developed properly. Children may have learning problems, delays in walking and talking, or other problems.
In some areas where Zika virus has been reported, there are more cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). GBS is a rare disorder that causes the body's immune system to attack the nerves. The damage to nerves causes muscle weakness, tingling, and sometimes paralysis. For most people symptoms last a few weeks or several months and then go away. It is not known if Zika virus increases the risk for GBS.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Your child may have blood tests to rule out infections with other viruses such as dengue or chikungunya.
If a pregnant woman has Zika virus symptoms or tests positive for Zika virus, the baby should have tests within 2 days of birth.
There is no medicine that cures Zika virus. If your child’s symptoms are mild, they will usually go away on their own. In most cases you can care for your child at home. If the infection is serious, your child may need to stay at the hospital. At the hospital, your child may be given IV fluids, pain relievers, or other treatments.
Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider. In addition:
Ask your provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup.
Take these precautions to avoid mosquito bites:
Zika virus infections in pregnant women can infect the baby and cause serious birth defects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that women who are pregnant, or who might become pregnant, should NOT travel to areas where Zika virus has been reported.
To prevent sexually transmitted disease, advise your older child not to have sex, or to use latex or polyurethane condoms during foreplay and every time he or she has vaginal, oral, or anal sex for at least 6 months after last possible exposure.
Zika virus has been shown to live in a male’s semen longer than in other body fluids. If a male has been diagnosed or has had symptoms of Zika virus, he should continue to use condoms for at least 6 months.
You can get more information from: