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Zika

The Zika virus is a transmittable disease that is spread through mosquito bites and can be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy. While most infections will cause few, if any, symptoms, the disease can cause a rare, irreversible birth defect known as microcephaly, in which a baby is born with an abnormally small head and brain.

In adults and children, Zika will usually cause a mild, self-limiting illness or have no symptoms at all. Because there is neither a vaccine nor treatment for the Zika virus, the primary way to prevent infection is to avoid mosquito bites if traveling to or living in an area where the Zika risk is high.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Zika contagious?

    Zika virus is not contagious from person-to-person in the way that, say, a cold virus is. It is possible to get the virus by having sex with someone who is infected. Otherwise, most cases of Zika are caused by mosquito bites and transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy.

  • Is there a vaccine for Zika?

    As of 2020, there is not an approved vaccine against the Zika virus. However, vaccine trials have been in the works since 2017.

  • How is Zika transmitted?

    The primary carrier of Zika virus is the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Zika may also be transmitted via sex and blood transfusions. The virus can be transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to the fetus.

  • How do you prevent Zika virus?

    The best way to prevent infection with Zika is to avoid getting bit by the Aedes aegypti mosquito by using insect repellant, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding high-risk areas (check the CDC’s Zika Travel Information for updates on which regions of the world are the riskiest).

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