Community Health Updates
23 August 2016
What you need to know about the Zika virus
In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes, and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Zika can be transmitted:
- by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito,
- by sexual contact with an infected person,
- from a pregnant woman to her fetus,
- by blood transfusion and
- by laboratory exposure.
People in Oregon are at a very low risk of getting Zika from an infected mosquito locally. The Aedes species mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus are currently found in tropical, subtropical and some temperate climates. In the U.S. this mosquito has been found primarily in the southern and southeastern areas of the U.S. See the CDC’s vector range map. However, people are still at risk of getting Zika from a sexual partner that has acquired Zika through travel. To date, all cases of Zika in Oregon have been in been travel-associated. For up-to-date case counts in the US, please see the CDC website.
The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). It’s a relatively mild virus in the adult population. Currently, there is no vaccine for the Zika virus.
- Prevent Zika by avoiding mosquito bites.
- Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime.
- Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.
- Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to their sex partners. Condoms (and other barriers to protect against infection) can reduce the chance of getting Zika from sex.
- Local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in two areas of Miami. Learn more.
For students traveling to and from affected areas, we suggest contacting the Student Health Service, Travel Medicine Clinic. For employees, please contact your health care provider. The CDC frequently updates its website with new information about the virus as it becomes available: CDC page on Zika virus.