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Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment

Symptoms

  • Most people infected with Zika virus won’t even know they have the disease because they won’t have symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
    • See your doctor or other healthcare provider if you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes within 2 weeks after traveling to a place where Zika has been reported. Be sure to tell your doctor or other healthcare provider where you traveled.
  • The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting 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. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected.
  • Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week but it can be found longer in some people.
  • Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.

Diagnosis

  • The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika.
  • See your doctor or other healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where Zika is found.
  • If you have recently traveled, tell your doctor or other healthcare provider when and where you traveled.
  • Your doctor or other healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya.

Treatment

  • There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika virus.
  • Treat the symptoms:
    • Get plenty of rest.
    • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
    • Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain.
    • Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding.
    • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
  • If you have Zika, prevent mosquito bites for the first week of your illness.
    • During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites.
    • An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.

More detailed information can be found on CDC’s Zika virus web page for healthcare providers

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