Learn More About the Zika Virus
The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne virus, is typically more common in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, although there have been some cases reported in the U.S. after travelers visited Zika-infested areas or a non-traveler had sexual relations with a traveler from those areas. The virus typically shows little to no symptoms.
Zika Virus Symptoms
Zika virus symptoms also tend to be mild and only last from a few days up to a week. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Muscle pain
In pregnant women, Zika infection can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, or incomplete brain development.
If you have recently traveled abroad and are feeling any symptoms, it’s important to notify a UPMC Susquehanna physician immediately.
Zika Virus Causes
You can be infected by the Zika virus through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the daytime. In addition to mosquito bites, the Zika virus can also be passed down from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and also from an infected man to his sex partners.
Zika Virus Treatment at UPMC
You can help ease Zika symptoms by doing the following:
- Getting plenty of rest
- Staying hydrated
- Taking over-the-counter (OTC) medicine to lower fever and pain
No medicine or vaccine exists to treat the Zika virus, which is why it’s important to protect yourself and your family by avoiding mosquito bites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises pregnant women avoid travel to countries where there are outbreaks. The CDC also recommends they abstain from sex or use condoms with partners who have recently visited these areas.
In areas where Zika is common:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and hats
- Apply insect repellents as recommended
- Stay in area with air-conditioning, window and door screens
- Sleep under a mosquito net if you are in a region of the world with a known mosquito presence
UPMC is dedicated to the health of all people in our community. We provide exceptional care for patients with the Zika virus in central PA.