Zika Virus

What you need to know

With the spread of Zika virus throughout the world, here are important things for you to know about the disease:

  • If you are pregnant, do not travel to areas with Zika virus.
    • If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
  • Zika virus is linked to birth defects.
    • A Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly that prevents the brain from fully developing. If you have a male partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika, having sex while pregnant can be dangerous. Either use condoms correctly or do not have sex.
  • Zika virus primarily spreads through infected mosquitoes. You can also get Zika through sexual contact.
    • Many areas in the United States have the type of mosquitoes that can spread Zika virus. The Aedes species mosquito that carries Zika virus is not found in Michigan.
  • The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites.
    • Use insect repellent.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
    • Stay in places with air conditioning or window and door screens.
    • Remove standing water around your home.
  • Returning travelers infected with Zika can spread the virus through mosquito bites.
    • Zika virus can stay in your blood for a week. When a mosquito bites you, you can pass the virus to the mosquito. The infected mosquito bites other people, who get infected.

See your doctor immediately if you recently traveled to an area where Zika is found and have the symptoms listed below. This is especially important if you are pregnant:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis(red eyes)

Currently, there is no medicine or vaccine to treat Zika. Get plenty of rest, drink fluids to prevent dehydration and take medicine like acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain. Avoid aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine.

For more information on Zika virus, go to Henry Ford’s FAQ page.

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