Zika Virus Information
What is Zika?
Zika is a virus spread to humans most commonly through a mosquito bite. Two types of mosquitos are known to transmit Zika. The yellow fever mosquito (Ae. aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Ae. albopictus). The yellow fever mosquito is more likely to transmit Zika.
Zika can also be spread through unprotected sex, from pregnant women to her fetus, and likely, through blood transfusions.
What are the signs of Zika infection?
A majority of adults will have minor, or no symptoms, from Zika infection. For those that do have symptoms, they are commonly fever, red eyes, rash, or achy joints.
A very small portion of those infected with Zikamay develop Guillain-Barré syndrome. Symptoms include muscle weakness and paralysis.
Zika causes severe birth defects if it infects a fetus. This includes microcephaly, a condition of incomplete brain development that results in a small head and significant disabilities.
Where have mosquito-born Zika infections occurred?
As of August 1st, 2016, there have been known cases of mosquito bite transmission of the Zika virus in Miami, FL.
Mosquito bite transmitted Zika infections have been reported in a majority of the countries of the Americas south of the US and in the US Territories.
Both mosquitos that transmit Zika virus are found in the US.
So far, the yellow fever mosquito has not been found in Colorado. The Asian tiger mosquito has been reported in the Ft. Lupton area in Colorado.
What are the recommedations if you are thinking about becoming pregnant or are pregnant?
If a woman is pregnant, or considering becoming pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:
- Avoiding travel to areas with Zika.
- Preventing mosquito bites.
- Abstaining from, or using a condom during, any sexual contact with a male partner that has traveled to an area affected by Zika.
What can I do to reduce my risk of mosquito-born Zika infection?
This is no current vaccine or specific medicine available to treat Zika virus infection.
Avoiding being bitten by mosquitos is the best method to avoid Zika. This includes:
- Wearing clothes that cover most of your skin, e.g., long sleeve shirts and pants.
- Using insect repellents. Repellents containing picaridin, DEET, or lemon eucalyptus are effective. Clothing can also be treated with permethrin.
- Preventing mosquitos from entering your home, e.g., cooling your home with air conditioning or keeping windows covered with screens.
Where can I find the latest information?
The information contained in this pamphlet comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.
For the latest information visit:
Central Colorado AHEC, a 501(c)(3) Organization | 10200 E. Girard Avenue | Denver, CO | 80231 | 303.481.8686