Zika Virus

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About Zika Zika Virus in WA What Is My Zika Risk Pregnancy Travel CDC Resources

About Zika

Zika is a virus spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus) and through sexual contact. In pregnant women, the virus can cause birth defects. There is no vaccine or medication for Zika. CDC Zika information overview

Zika virus in Washington State

Washington State does not have the type of mosquitoes known to carry Zika virus. Therefore residents of Washington are only at risk of being infected if:

  • they travel to areas with possible mosquito transmission of Zika.
  • they have unprotected sex with persons who are infected with Zika virus.

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Prevention

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent disease spread by mosquitoes is to avoid traveling to areas where local spread of Zika has been reported, or to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites during travel to such areas.
Prevent sexual transmission of Zika by using condoms or not having sex with a traveler recently returning from an area where local spread of Zika has been documented.

Symptoms

Many people infected with Zika virus won't have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)

Other symptoms include muscle pain and headaches.

Symptoms can last for several days to a week. People usually don't get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. Once a person has been infected with Zika, they are likely to be protected from future infections. The greatest risk is to unborn children of pregnant women.

Diagnosis

Zika is diagnosed based on a person's exposure history, symptoms, and test results. A blood or urine test can confirm a Zika infection. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about getting tested for Zika.

Pregnancy

Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby (fetus). Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. Zika primarily spreads through infected mosquitoes, but you can also get Zika through sex with an infected person. Approximately one in ten pregnancies with laboratory-confirmed Zika virus infection result in a fetus or infant with Zika virus-associated birth defects.

  • Washington State does not have the type of mosquitoes known to carry Zika virus. Therefore residents of Washington State who are pregnant or intending to become pregnant are only at risk of being infected if:
    • they travel to areas with ongoing mosquito transmission
    • they have unprotected sex (oral, vaginal, or anal) with an infected person (infected people do not necessarily show symptoms of disease but can still transmit it)
  • CDC advises pregnant women not to travel to an area currently experiencing an outbreak of Zika virus. Pregnant women who plan on traveling to areas with possible Zika virus transmission should talk to their health care providers about potential risks. If they decide to travel, they should take steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika.
    • Women who have traveled to Zika affected areas should wait at least 2 months before trying to become pregnant.
    • Men who have traveled to Zika affected areas should wait at least 3 months before having unprotected sex with a woman intending to become pregnant, and should use condoms or not have sex for the duration of pregnancy if their partner is pregnant.


      This guidance is summarized in the table at the bottom of the page.

If you are pregnant and you think you may have been exposed to Zika virus, contact your healthcare provider and let them know about your exposure. CDC information for pregnant women

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Affected Areas

CDC information showing Zika affected areas including country, territory and world maps.

Travel

Before traveling

Pregnant women should not travel to areas currently experiencing outbreaks of Zika virus, and they should talk to their health care providers about potential risks of travel to areas that may have local spread of Zika. Women intending to become pregnant should talk with their healthcare providers before they travel to areas in which local spread of Zika has ever occurred.

After Traveling

Women who have traveled to areas in which local spread of Zika has ever occurred should wait at least 2 months before trying to become pregnant. Men who have traveled to such areas should wait at least 3 months before having unprotected sex with a woman intending to become pregnant, and should use condoms or not have sex for the duration of pregnancy if their partner is pregnant. Learn more about sexual transmission and prevention of Zika on the CDC website.

Recommendations for Travelers to Areas Affected by Zika​

Traveler Type

Country Category

Outbreak

(red zone)

Current or past transmission

but no current outbreak

(purple zone)

Pregnant women

Do not travel.

Talk to a health care provider about potential risks. If you decide to travel, prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika during and after travel.

If your sexual partner has had recent travel to these zones, use condoms or do not have sex for the entire duration of pregnancy.

Women planning pregnancy

Talk to a health care provider about potential risks. If you decide to travel, prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika during and after travel. If traveling without a male partner, wait 2 months

  • after your symptoms begin, if you were diagnosed with Zika, or,
  • your return date,

before attempting to conceive.

Men or women with a pregnant partner

Prevent mosquito bites during and after travel. Use barrier methods, such as condoms, or do not have sex for the rest of the pregnancy.

Men, including those with a partner planning pregnancy

Prevent mosquito bites during and after travel. Use condoms or do not have sex for at least 3 months

  • after your symptoms begin, if you were diagnosed with Zika, or,
  • your return date,

before having unprotected intercourse.

Women who are not pregnant, including those with a partner planning pregnancy

Prevent mosquito bites during and after travel. Use barrier methods, such as condoms, or do not have sex for at least 2 months

  • after your symptoms begin, if you were diagnosed with Zika, or,
  • your return date,

before having unprotected intercourse.

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Links for Department of Health webpages