Zika virus is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, especially the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (A. albopictus). These mosquitoes are found in the United States but their range is limited to the southern, southeastern, and mid-Atlantic regions.
To date, there have not been any locally acquired cases of Zika virus in the United States, though there have been in U.S. territories like Puerto Rico. Public health experts do not know whether Zika virus will be transmitted in the continental United States but the risk is present. People that travel to regions where Zika is prevalent can get the virus and when they return home, local mosquitoes can potentially transmit it to another person.
Here is what is currently known about Zika virus:
- Zika virus has not been confirmed to be transmitted in the continental U.S., but the number of reported travel-related cases continue to increase. Visit www.CDC.gov for the latest information.
- Anyone traveling outside of the country, especially to Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, should be aware of travel advisories currently in effect. If you fall ill upon returning home, seek medical attention.
- Zika virus causes mild flu-like symptoms in about 20% of infected people and about 80% of people have no symptoms at all. The major concern is the link between the virus and microcephaly, a birth defect associated with underdevelopment of the head and brain of newborns. There is currently no vaccine to prevent, or medicine to treat, Zika virus.
- Aedes mosquitoes breed in containers so eliminate areas of standing water such as empty bottles and cans, tires, buckets, flower pots, cups, and bowls, whenever possible. Any place that can hold water half of an inch deep is enough to allow mosquitoes to breed.
- The mosquitoes that can transmit Zika virus are aggressive daytime biters so take preventative measures whenever you will be spending time outdoors.
– Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and closed-toes shoes.
– Protect your skin by applying an EPA-registered insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon-eucalyptus.
– Keep doors and windows closed whenever possible and cover any gaps with mesh screens.
Check out the Zika Virus Information Sheet