Zika Virus

Zika world map 2016While Zika virus as an illness is rather mild, we know that the potential connection between Zika and babies born with small skulls is a real concern.

There is still a lot to learn about Zika and long-term effects. Here’s what the science is pointing to as of now.
  • Pregnant women and Zika virus is what is concerning—not the illness in most people. Most people who contract Zika have mild symptoms for no more than a week. This illness only seems to be an issue in newborns when a woman is pregnant and then infected—the virus does not appear to linger and cause issues if pregnancy occurs a month or later after the illness.
  • Zika does appear to be transmitted sexually. More information on protecting yourself and your partner here: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/transmission/sexual-transmission.html
  • We now seem to have local transmission within the US via mosquitoes—specifically in the Miami, FL area. However, travelers still make up the majority of Zika cases we've seen.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not yet know what other impact Zika virus infection during pregnancy has, nor is the organization completely confident there aren’t other factors contributing to microcephaly (babies born with small skulls).
  • The virus is passed by the type of mosquitoes common to the southern regions of the United State—the same mosquitoes that pass Dengue, West Nile and Chikungunya.
  • The United States has an edge in that we have stronger mosquito control, are not as densely populated and air conditioning is more common—all resulting in smaller mosquito populations and a smaller risk of infection.
  • As a vaccine is a long process that isn’t expected to be widely available for years, the best prevention for area residents is mosquito control. You can learn more about SGCHD’s recommendations on personal and environmental mosquito protection here.
Click here for a complete list of countries affected by the Zika virus.