Zika

[zee ka]

Pregnant woman

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and through sex with a person who is infected with Zika. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease (or Zika) are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Many people with Zika won’t have symptoms so they may not know they are infected. For those who do have symptoms, the illness is usually mild and can last for several days to a week. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon, and deaths are rare. The Aedes mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world.

Quiz

Key Facts

  • Zika is spread to people primarily by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus).
  • There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Travelers to areas with Zika should prevent mosquito bites.
  • Pregnant women should not travel to areas with a Zika outbreak. Before travel to areas with risk of Zika, pregnant women and couples considering pregnancy should talk with their doctors or other healthcare providers and carefully consider risks and possible consequences of travel.
  • Many people infected with Zika virus do not get sick. The illness is usually mild, lasting from several days to a week.
  • Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.

Media

Aedes Mosquito
Aedes Mosquito

Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite during the day and at night. The mosquitoes that spread Zika also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.

Geographic Distribution of Zika
Geographic Distribution of Zika

Check CDC’s Zika Travel Information webpage often for the most up-to-date travel recommendations.

Family on a cruise
Travelers Should Prevent Mosquito Bites and Sexual Transmission

Travelers who go to areas with Zika are at risk of being infected with Zika virus. Travelers may also be at risk of being infected with dengue or chikungunya virus. There is no vaccine available for Zika virus. The best way to avoid Zika is to prevent mosquito bites. To prevent spreading Zika to others, protect against mosquito bites and sexual transmission for 3 weeks after returning from travel.

Man holding pregnant woman's belly
Sexual Transmission

Pregnant women should not travel to areas with a Zika outbreak. Before travel to areas with risk of Zika, pregnant women and couples considering pregnancy should talk with their doctors or other healthcare providers and carefully consider risks and possible consequences of travel.

Pregnant woman at the beach
Zika and Pregnancy

Pregnant women should not travel to areas with a Zika outbreak. Before travel to areas with risk of Zika, pregnant women and couples considering pregnancy should talk with their doctors or other healthcare providers and carefully consider risks and possible consequences of travel.

Prevention Tips

  • Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registeredexternal icon insect repellents with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2 undecanone. Always use as directed.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or buy permethrin-treated items.*
  • Pregnant women should not travel to areas with a Zika outbreak. Before travel to areas with risk of Zika, pregnant women and couples considering pregnancy should talk with their doctors or other healthcare providers and carefully consider risks and possible consequences of travel.
  • Prevent sexual transmission of Zika by using condoms or not having sex.

*In some places, such as Puerto Rico, where permethrin products have been used for years in mosquito control efforts, mosquitoes have become resistant to it. In areas with high levels of resistance, use of permethrin is not likely to be effective.

More Information

Page last reviewed: June 19, 2020