The Zika virus is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. It has also been determined that the virus can be transmitted sexually from partner to partner. If you are pregnant and you or your partner have recently traveled, tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled.
There is no vaccine to prevent or specific medicine to treat Zika infections. And even though there is a lab test to check for the virus – it is not available commercially. There are only a few labs nationwide and the CDC that can run the test. You can check with your local health department for testing information.
The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
Treat the symptoms:
• Get plenty of rest.
• Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
• Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to relieve fever and pain.
• Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil® or ibuprofen.
If you become infected while pregnant, whether you experience symptoms or not, we are recommending the first ultrasound to be done between 18-20 weeks. Then again at 24, 28 and 32 weeks to monitor your babies’ growth. Unfortunately, if your baby is affected, there is no cure, and no recourse.
If you conceive after contracting the virus, Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week. The virus will not cause infections in a baby that is conceived after the virus has cleared from the bloodstream.
You can learn more about Zika Virus and the answers to many more questions on the CDC’s website (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/index.html).