Zika virus is primarily spread to people through mosquito bites. The virus can be spread from mother to child. Spread of the virus through blood transfusion and sexual contact has also been reported.
Most people infected with the virus have mild or no symptoms. For those who do develop symptoms, illness is generally mild and typically lasts a few days to a week. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).
Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and fatalities are rare. An increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome was noted during an outbreak of Zika virus in French Polynesia in 2014. An increase in microcephaly was noted during an outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil in 2015.
Please visit http://www.texaszika.org/ for more information about the Zika Virus including transmission, prevention, traveling, and reported cases.
Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus. Your best protection to avoid infection is to prevent mosquito breeding and protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Prevent Mosquito Breeding
- At least weekly empty or get rid of cans, buckets, old tires, pots, plant saucers and other containers that hold water.
- Keep gutters clear of debris and standing water.
- Remove standing water around structures and from flat roofs.
- Change water in pet dishes daily.
- Rinse and scrub vases and other indoor water containers weekly.
- Change water in wading pools and bird baths several times a week.
- Maintain backyard pools or hot tubs.
- Cover trash containers.
- Water lawns and gardens carefully so water does not stand for several days.
- Screen rain barrels and openings to water tanks or cisterns.
- Treat front and back door areas of homes with residual insecticides if mosquitoes are abundant nearby.
- If mosquito problems persist, consider pesticide applications for vegetation around the home.
Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites
- Wear Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, these insect repellents – including those that contain DEET – are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Mosquito repellent is now available as a Medicaid benefit.
- Cover up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Keep mosquitoes out with air conditioning or intact window screens.
- Limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito times.
People who are traveling to areas where Zika is being spread should protect themselves from mosquito bites while abroad and for 21 days after returning home to help prevent themselves from becoming infected, and to keep from spreading the virus to mosquitoes in Texas in case the travelers were exposed to Zika.
Zika can also be spread from a pregnant mother to her fetus. Read more about preventing Zika during pregnancy.