Zika Virus

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Zika is spread to people primarily through the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. Zika can also be sexually transmitted by a man to his partners, and passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of delivery.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. 

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following special precautions for pregnant women:

  • Avoid travel to any area where Zika virus is spreading. If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
  • Take steps to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Take steps to prevent getting Zika through sex.

Local Zika virus transmission is not currently a concern to Minnesota residents since the mosquito species primarily responsible for transmitting the virus are not established in this state. There have not yet been any cases of local transmission confirmed elsewhere in the continental United States. However, lab tests have confirmed Zika virus in travelers returning to the United States. These travelers have gotten the virus from mosquito bites, and some non-travelers got Zika through sex with a traveler. 

Specific areas where Zika is spreading are often difficult to determine and have changed over time. For the latest developments on Zika. Mosquito-control information, and travel advisories, check these pages from the CDC:

General Zika Information

Traveler’s Health

Controlling Mosquitoes