Although reported cases of Zika virus have been rare in the United States, the CDC has now confirmed several cases in Tennessee. We want you to have the facts about the virus – and know what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Zika virus is a type of virus that is spread by mosquitoes. The mosquitoes that carry Zika bite during daylight hours.
You're more likely to get the virus if you travel to parts of the world where it's more common. This includes parts of South America, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands.
Zika virus is usually mild and may not cause symptoms. But it can be more serious for women who are pregnant.
Travelers who have Zika can spread it when they come home or travel to another area. If they get bitten, they can spread the virus to other mosquitoes.
A pregnant woman who gets infected with Zika can pass it to her unborn baby.
It may also be possible to spread Zika through sexual contact. But Zika is most often spread through bites from an infected mosquito.
Most people infected with Zika don't have any symptoms.
The main symptoms are fever, rash, very painful joints, and red eyes. Symptoms are usually mild. They most often start within a week after the bite.
Some people also have a headache and muscle pain.
There is no treatment for Zika virus. Symptoms usually go away on their own after about a week.
Treating your symptoms may help you feel better.
Experts believe that babies born to women infected with Zika virus are at risk for birth defects, including microcephaly (say "my-kroh-SEF-uh-lee"). Microcephaly means that the baby's head is smaller than normal. It causes problems in how the baby's brain develops.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women wait until after they give birth before they travel to areas where there are Zika outbreaks.
Women who are thinking about becoming pregnant should talk to their doctor about their risk.
There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus. But you can protect yourself from mosquito bites, especially when you travel.
If you do get infected with Zika, protect yourself from mosquito bites, especially during the first week. This will help prevent the virus from spreading to other people.
What we know
What we do not know
If a pregnant woman is exposed
If a pregnant woman is infected
If you suspect that you or a loved one may have Zika, visit your primary care physician or contact your local health department for further guidance. For residents of Tennessee, contact the Tennessee Department of Health at 615-741-7247.
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