Zika is a virus mainly transmitted through an infected mosquito’s bite, while alternative routes of infection exist.
Scientists searching for yellow fever (a separate viral ailment) in Uganda’s Zika forest 1947 found the virus in samples collected from a rhesus monkey. The virus was obtained from a mosquito the following year. Human cases of Zika virus were recorded in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania in 1952.
The cause of the Zika virus is predominantly transmitted by the bites of infected Aedes mosquitos.
These mosquitos often bite during the day but can also bite at night. They typically lay eggs near standing water and can live indoors and outdoors. They are the same mosquitoes that spread the viruses that cause dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever.
When mosquitoes feed on someone who already has the virus, they become infected and spread it to other individuals through their bites.
Other, less prevalent mechanisms for the Zika virus to propagate exist. Some of these alleged ways of transmission have yet to be proven or require further investigation. SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infection, does not spread by respiratory droplets.
Only around one-fifth of Zika-infected people show signs or symptoms. As a result, many people are unaware they are infected. When Zika virus symptoms do appear, they usually appear within 5-6 days of being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Zika symptoms may include:
These symptoms are usually mild and last approximately a week.
A blood or urine test can reveal Zika virus infection. There are tests available to detect the presence of the virus in the human body, as well as serological tests that search for antibodies produced by the body to combat infection (albeit this test is less accurate; comparable tests can detect viruses such as chikungunya and dengue).
Testing for Zika is usually advised if a person develops symptoms after visiting a high-risk location or having unprotected intercourse with a partner who has seen a high-risk area.
Pregnant women who may have been exposed to Zika must be tested. If a fetal ultrasound reveals probable Zika-related problems, your doctor will want to test for infection.
There is no specific Zika virus treatment. Your provider can help you manage your symptoms and prevent the virus from spreading to others. If you are pregnant and test positive for Zika, your pregnancy care provider will assist you in appropriately managing your symptoms.
When To See A Doctor
If you have Zika mosquito disease symptoms (fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, or muscle discomfort) and live in or recently traveled to a Zika-risk area, see your doctor or healthcare provider and inform them of your Zika virus symptoms and recent travel.
This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about the Zika virus or any other medical condition, please see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions.