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Zika Virus

  • Zika virus is spread through mosquitoes, particularly Aedes species mosquitoes, including Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.
  • Zika virus can also be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners, even if the person doesn't have any symptoms.
  • It can also be spread mother-to-baby during pregnancy.
  • The majority of people infected with Zika develop mild symptoms, or none at all.  However, when Zika virus is passed from a pregnant mother to her unborn baby, severe brain defects, including microcephaly and other nervous system defects can occur.
  • Beginning in 2015 a large outbreak of Zika virus occurred in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.
  • The CDC still recommends that pregnant women, or couples that are planning for pregnancy avoid travel to areas with ongoing Zika activity.
  • Preventing mosquito bites and protective sexual practices are the most important ways to reduce infection or risk of pregnancy complications.
Zika virus diagnosis and testing information
  • Current Situation

    • There is no current local transmission of Zika virus in the continental United States.  The last cases of Zika virus acquired in the continental U.S. were in Florida and Texas in 2016-17.
    • Since 2019, there have been no confirmed Zika virus disease cases reported from the U.S. territories.
    • No Zika virus transmission by mosquitoes has ever been reported in Alaska or Hawaii.
    • Travelers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy can should not travel to areas with a current outbreak of Zika (red areas). 

    Current Risk Groups


    What are the symptoms of Zika virus?

    Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are:

    • Fever
    • Rash
    • Joint pain
    • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)

    Other symptoms include:

    • Muscle pain
    • Headache

    How long do symptoms last?

    • Zika is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
    • People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected.
    • Symptoms of Zika are similar to other viruses spread through mosquito bites, like dengue and chikungunya.

    Should I be tested for Zika virus?

    • Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week.
    • See your doctor or other healthcare provider if you develop symptoms and you live in or have recently traveled to an area with Zika.
    • Your doctor or other healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya.
    • Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.

    When should I see my doctor or healthcare provider?

    • See your doctor or other healthcare provider if you have the symptoms described above and have visited an area with Zika.
    • This is especially important if you are pregnant.
    • Be sure to tell your doctor or other healthcare provider where you traveled.



    How is Zika Diagnosed?

    • To diagnose Zika, a doctor or other healthcare provider will ask about any recent travel and any signs and symptoms.
    • They may order a blood or urine test to help determine if you have Zika or other viruses like dengue and chikungunya.
    •  It is important that you make sure to receive your Zika test results even if you are feeling better.

    Who Should be Tested for Zika?

    • Currently the risk of Zika virus in most parts of the world are very low.  Few people need testing now.
    • Testing is recommended if you have symptoms of Zika and have recently traveled to an area with a current Zika outbreak (red areas).
    • Testing is recommended if you are pregnant, have symptoms of Zika and have recently traveled to an area with risk for Zika (purple areas).
    • The doctor or other healthcare provider may order blood or urine tests to look for Zika or other viruses like dengue or chikungunya.



    There is no specific medicine or vaccine for Zika virus.

    • Treat the symptoms.
    • Get plenty of rest.
    • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
    • Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain.
    • Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding.
    • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

    If you think you may have or had Zika

    Tell your doctor or healthcare provider and take these steps to protect others.

    If you are caring for a person with Zika

    Take steps to protect yourself from exposure to the person’s blood and body fluids (urine, stool, vomit). If you are pregnant, you can care for someone with Zika if you follow these steps.

    • Do not touch blood or body fluids or surfaces with these fluids on them with exposed skin.
    • Wash hands with soap and water immediately after providing care.
    • Immediately remove and wash clothes if they get blood or body fluids on them. Use laundry detergent and water temperature specified on the garment label. Using bleach is not necessary.
    • Clean the sick person’s environment daily using household cleaners according to label instructions.
    • Immediately clean surfaces that have blood or other body fluids on them using household cleaners or and disinfectants according label instructions.