The Zika Virus

Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. It has been found in Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific Islands and in a few returning travelers to the United States. 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. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

However, pregnant women can pass the Zika virus to their unborn child and it is believed there may be a connection between Zika Virus infection and injury to the developing brain. Pregnant women who have contracted Zika Virus need more frequent monitoring during their pregnancy by their obstetrician. In addition, there has been one case in the United States in which an individual with Zika Virus transmitted the virus to his wife through sexual contact. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant have been advised to delay unnecessary travel to affected countries and to take all precautions to avoid mosquito bites if they must travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and the New York State Department of Health have advised that all individuals with recent travel to an affected area and acute viral illness within 2 weeks of travel should be tested for the virus. In addition, infants of mothers who may have been infected during pregnancy should also be evaluated.

If you’ve recently traveled out of the country, please let your provider know immediately.