Zika Virus is a mosquito-borne virus transmitted via mosquito bites. It is estimated that 80 percent of those infected with Zika virus are without symptoms. Symptomatic disease is usually mild and symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). There is currently no vaccine or other preventative medication for Zika virus.
Recently there have been several documented cases of Zika virus in infants born with microcephaly in Brazil. This has warranted the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to issue a travel alert to regions with Zika virus outbreaks, including parts of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Samoa, and Cape Verde. Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are advised to postpone travel to areas with Zika virus transmission. Travelers should also take precaution to prevent mosquito bites.
To date, there have been no local cases of Zika virus, nor any originating in the continental United States, but there have been some cases among returning travelers. According to the CDC, with the recent outbreaks and the number of cases increasing among travelers returning the United States, it is difficult to determine how widely the virus will spread.
For more information, see the CDC page on Zika virus.
Kathleen M. Malara MSN, FNP
Executive Director, University Health Services
For more on the Zika virus, hear biology professor Tom Daniels, co-director of Fordham’s Vector Ecology Laboratory.