Zika is a mosquito-borne disease transmitted by the same mosquito that carries the dengue virus. There have also been cases of transmission through sexual intercourse.
Most people get Zika from a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on the blood of a person already infected with the virus, and when they bite others, they can transmit the virus. Other forms of transmission include:
- A pregnant woman can pass the Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy or at the time of birth.
- Zika can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse and blood transfusion.
Zika can cause incomplete brain development in fetuses. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis.
To reduce the risk of contracting Zika, it is important to:
- Avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and staying in screened or air-conditioned areas.
- Use condoms during sexual intercourse to prevent sexual transmission.
Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent Zika.