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- Published in Virus and Disease
In the past, outbreaks of Zika virus infection have occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.
About one in five people infected with Zika virus will develop symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (pink eye). Other commonly reported symptoms include myalgia, headache, and pain behind the eyes. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and case fatality is low. Guillain-Barré syndrome has been reported in patients with probable Zika virus infection in French Polynesia and Brazil. Research efforts will also examine the link between Zika and GBS.
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Illness from Zika is usually mild and does not require hospitalization.
Travelers are strongly urged to protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. Always use as directed.
- Insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, and IR3535 are safe for pregnant and nursing women and children older than 2 months when used according to the product label. Oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under 3 years of age.
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents).
- Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.