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Published on November 21, 2016. Last modified on April 03, 2018
Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
Due to reports in microencephaly and other severe birth defects among babies born to women infected with Zika virus during pregnancy, pregnant women who have plans to travel to the American Tropics and Mexico should consult with their medical providers and consider postponing travel. A list of affected countries can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Pregnant women who must travel to these areas should use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of eucalyptus, or para-menthanie-diol. Other precautions such as wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants and using mosquito bed nets are also recommended. Use of a barrier method (e.g., condom) during sexual activity with a person who has traveled to a Zika-affected area is also important to prevent getting the virus through sexual contact.
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