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Zika Virus

Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus), but can also be spread during sex by a person infected with Zika to his or her sex partners.  Many people infected with Zika won't have symptoms, but for those who do, the illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. However, Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Until more is known, CDC recommends that pregnant women avoid traveling to areas with Zika.

Outbreaks of Zika are occurring in many countries and territories, and because the mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world, it is likely that outbreaks will spread to new countries. On Feb. 1, 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern because of clusters of microcephaly and other neurological disorders in some areas affected by Zika. Lab tests have confirmed Zika virus in travelers returning to the United States and in some non-travelers who got Zika through sex with a traveler. Local transmission of Zika virus has been reported in the United States(https://www.cdc.gov/zika/intheus/florida-update.html). Additionally, local transmission of Zika has been reported in US territories, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. 

What CDC is doing

CDC's Emergency Operations Center is activated at Level 1, its highest level, to respond to the Zika outbreak. CDC is working with public health partners and with state, local, and territorial health departments to alert healthcare providers and the public about Zika; post travel notices and other travel-related guidance; provide state health laboratories with diagnostic tests; monitor and report cases of Zika; publish guidelines to inform testing and treatment of people with suspected or confirmed Zika; study what might be responsible for the reported rise in microcephaly; and working with partners around the world to develop a better understanding of Zika virus.

Contact Information

Spokespersons

Lyle R. Petersen, MD, MPH

Lyle R. Petersen, MD, MPH

Biography

Lyle R. Petersen, MD, MPH

"We are working with the Ministry of Health in Brazil and other international public health partners to investigate an unexpected increase in the number of babies being born with microcephaly to mothers who were infected with Zika virus during their pregnancy."

Lyle R. Petersen, MD, MPH - Director, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, NCEZID

Cindy Moore, MD, PhD

Cindy Moore, MD, PhD

Biography

	Cindy Moore, MD, PhD

"We are concerned about the increasing number of babies with microcephaly being reported by the Brazil Ministry of Health. Microcephaly can cause lifelong disabilities and be life-threatening. We are working to learn more about how Zika may affect pregnancy so we can protect mothers and babies from this condition, which can have a devastating impact on babies and their families."

Cindy Moore, MD, PhD - Director, Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, NCBDDD

Margaret (Peggy) Honein, PhD, MPH

Margaret (Peggy) Honein, PhD, MPH

Biography

	Margaret (Peggy) Honein, PhD, MPH

"We are working to understand the possible link between Zika virus infection during pregnancy and microcephaly. We urgently need to understand the magnitude of the potential risk, and what factors might affect that risk such as when the infection occurs during pregnancy."

Margaret (Peggy) Honein, PhD, MPH - Co-Team Lead, Pregnancy and Birth Defects Team, 2016 CDC Zika Virus Response Team

Denise J. Jamieson, MD

Denise J. Jamieson, MD

Biography

	Denise J. Jamieson, MD

"We are working to provide the best information possible for healthcare providers to care for their pregnant patients who are worried about Zika. At this time, we know that the best way to protect pregnant women from Zika is to delay travel to areas with ongoing Zika transmission. If you live in or travel to these areas, it is critical to protect yourself from mosquito bites. We are working as hard as we can to learn more about this virus, so that we can develop better strategies to protect mothers and ensure their babies are born healthy"

Denise J. Jamieson, MD - Chief, Women’s Health and Fertility Branch, Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Related Links

Microsite
Microsite offers an easy way to share information and stay up to date with developments in the current Zika virus outbreak, including prevention, symptoms, treatment, and information for pregnant women and travelers.

Podcast

Press Releases

Media Statements

Media Advisory

Media Advisory Transcripts

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