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Zika: What You Need to Know Now


While there are no reported cases of locally transmitted Zika virus in the United States, at lease three people in Florida contracted the disease while traveling to South America. Mosquito season will be here soon.

What is Zika?

It's a virus that is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, which is common in Florida.

How does it spread?

If a Aedes mosquito bites an infected person, it can pick up the virus and transmit it to another person through another bite.

aedes-aegyptiWhat are the symptoms?

According to the CDC only 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (but all who are infected can transmit the disease through mosquito bites).

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. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Deaths are rare.

How is Zika treated?

No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections. To treat the symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Take medicine such as acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain
  • 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.

What to do Right Now?

When traveling to countries where active Zika virus transmissions are known, CDC reccomends the following:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net.
  • Use an EPA-registered insect repellents. Always follow the product label instructions.


What if I am Pregnant? Or thinking about becoming Pregnant? Is it OK to travel to a country where cases of Zika have been reported?

Until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant:

  • Pregnant women should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
  • Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
  • Women trying to become pregnant or who are thinking about becoming pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.

More information about Zika can be found here: CDC: Zika Virus Information



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