Women's Health Texas – Austin


Everything You Need to Know About the Zika Virus

With summer starting and vacations and traveling becoming more frequent these next few months, we wanted to make sure you are informed on everything you need to know about the Zika Virus.

What is the Zika Virus?

The Zika virus is spread via the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. People can also acquire the virus through sexual intercourse with someone who is infected. Finally, Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus.

What are the symptoms of Zika?

The symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and headache. The symptoms occur within a few days to a week after exposure. The illness is typically mild and some people are completely asymptomatic. Once infected, you are likely to be protected from future infection. To diagnosis Zika, you must get a blood test. This test is run through your local or state health department and the results take approximately three weeks.

How does the Zika Virus affect pregnant women?

Zika virus infection during pregnancy has been shown to cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects as well as eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth. There is also recent evidence that Zika can cause serious neurologic effects in adults, including Guillain-Barre (an autoimmune disorder) and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

How Do I Avoid Zika?

For men and women considering pregnancy or for women that are pregnant – avoid travel to areas that are endemic for Zika. The CDC is constantly updating its website and should be consulted for the latest news and travel advisories. Prevent mosquito bites by wearing DEET products. We understand the worry that DEET is too strong of a spray, but we promise you that wearing DEET is better than getting bit by a mosquito carrying Zika during pregnancy.