Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes. People with Zika virus disease can have symptoms including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days. Zika Virus can be especially dangerous if contracted during pregnancy.
Specific areas where Zika is spreading are often difficult to determine and will likely change over time. Check the CDC’s Zika Travel Information webpage often for the most up-to-date travel recommendations.
Can mothers pass Zika on to their fetuses during pregnancy?
Zika virus can be passed from a mother to her fetus during pregnancy. We are studying how Zika affects pregnancies.
What should a pregnant woman do if she has previously traveled to a place with a Zika outbreak?
Pregnant women who have recently traveled to an area with Zika should talk to a healthcare provider about their travel even if they don’t feel sick. CDC has guidance to help doctors decide what tests are needed for pregnant women who may have been exposed to Zika. CDC recommends that all pregnant women who have traveled to an area with Zika talk to their doctors. It is especially important that pregnant women see a doctor if they develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes during their trip or within 2 weeks after traveling to a country where Zika has been reported. They should tell the doctor where they traveled.
What should a pregnant woman do if she gets sick during or after travel to a place with a Zika outbreak?
Pregnant women who are worried that they had Zika should talk to their healthcare provider and tell their provider about their recent travel. It is especially important for a pregnant woman to see a doctor if she develops a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes during her trip or within 2 weeks after traveling to an area with Zika. CDC has guidance to help doctors decide what tests are needed for pregnant women who may have been exposed to Zika.
Does Zika in pregnant women cause birth defects?
Brazil has been having a significant outbreak of Zika virus since May 2015. Officials in Brazil have also noted an increase in the number of babies with congenital microcephaly (a birth defect in which the size of a baby’s head is smaller than expected for age and sex) during that time. Congenital microcephaly is often a sign of the brain not developing normally during pregnancy. Health authorities in Brazil, with assistance from the Pan American Health Organization, CDC, and other agencies, have been investigating the possible association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly.
Additional studies are needed to determine the degree to which Zika might be linked with microcephaly. More lab testing and other studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.
Because of the possible association between Zika infection and microcephaly, pregnant women should take steps to prevent mosquito bites.
For more information regarding Zika, please see the following links:
Countries currently affected by Zika Virus
Zika and Travel During Pregnancy
Zika Virus FAQs