Zika virus disease is caused by the Zika virus. It is spread to people mainly through getting bitten by an infected mosquitoes.

Zika Information

Zika can be passed from pregnant women to their fetuses. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. It can also be spread through sex, and likely through blood transfusions, though that is not yet confirmed.

There is currently no vaccine or treatment for Zika. Many people who are infected with the Zika virus will have no symptoms, or the symptoms are usually mild. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, headache, joint or muscle pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms can last for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Zika also has been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome. This is an uncommon disease of the nervous system, where a person’s immune system damages the nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.

Prevention Using Insect Repellents

The best way to prevent a Zika infection is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. The most effective way is with insect repellents

Safe and effective repellents:

  • Use repellents that have been approved by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). They are proven to be safe and effective.
  • EPA-approved ingredients are:
    • DEET
    • Picaridin
    • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD  (para-menthane-diol)
    • IR3535
  • We do not know if non-EPA-approved repellents are effective, including those with natural ingredients.

Using repellents:

  • Always follow the instructions on the label.
  • Reapply as directed. Some repellents last longer than others.

Using repellents on children:

  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than two months old.
  • Do not apply repellent onto a child's hands, eyes, mouth, or on cut or irritated skin. An adult should spray the repellent onto their own hands and then apply to a child's face.
  • Do not use repellents containing OLE or PMD on children under three years old.

What everyone needs to know about Zika Virus

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