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Zika Virus

Posted by Gary Finch on April 1, 2016

  The Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys through a monitoring network of sylvatic yellow fever. It was subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania. Since then, outbreaks have been recorded in Africa, America, Asia and the Pacific.

Key Facts:

         Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.

         People with Zika virus disease usually have symptoms that can include mild fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last 2–7 days.

         There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available.

         The best form of prevention is protections against mosquito bites.

         The virus is known to circulate in Africa, America, Asia and the in the Pacific.

         Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the morning and late afternoon/evening hours.

Signs and Symptoms

  The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) of Zika virus disease is not clear, but is likely to be a few days. The symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms are usually mild and last for 2 -7 days.

Sexual Transmissions

   Sexual transmission of Zika virus infections has been described in two cases. The presence of the Zika virus in semen was found in one additional case.


  Use insect repellent regularly. Wear light colored clothes that cover most of your body. Use physical barriers such as window screens, closed doors and windows. If needed, add personal protection. Empty, clean or cover stale water. Other mosquito breeding sites should be cleaned or removed including flower pots. If you camp outdoors, use mosquito nets.

            There are no specific repellents for Aedes mosquitoes. Use the same repellent you would to prevent other mosquitoes from biting you.


   The disease is relatively mild. Drink water and other fluids, get plenty of rest, and treat pain and fever with common medicines.


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