Zika virus infection is caused by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, usually causing mild fever, rash, conjunctivitis, and muscle pain. Treatment consists of relieving pain, fever, and any other symptom that inconveniences the patient. To prevent dehydration, it is recommended to control the fever, rest, and drink plenty of water. There is no vaccine or specific drug for this virus. 

In December 2015, the first local transmission of Zika virus infection (Zika) was reported in the Caribbean. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area have been infected with Zika virus, spreading it to people. Since then, the following countries have reported ongoing transmission of Zika:

·     Barbados

·     The Dominican Republic

·     Guadeloupe

·     Haiti

·     Martinique

·     The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory

·     Saint Martin

·     The U.S. Virgin Islands

·     Brazil

Zika Virus in Pregnancy

Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Knowledge of the link between Zika and these outcomes is evolving, but until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for the following groups:

·     Women who are pregnant (in any trimester):

·     Consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

·     If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.

·     Women who are trying to become pregnant:

·     Before you travel, talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection.

·     Strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.

·     The virus has also been isolated in semen, and one case of possible person-to-person sexual transmission has been described. 

Specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time. As more information becomes available, the CDC travel notice will be updated. Please check the CDC website frequently for the most up-to-date recommendations. Travelers can also consult PAHO ( PAHO Website )for a list of Latin American countries with ongoing transmission

What can travelers do to prevent Zika?

There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:

·     Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

·     Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. Always use as directed.

·     Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.

·     Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children aged >2 months.

·     Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.

·     Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms. 

Paul Burger