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Zika virus health alert

02/27/17


The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends pregnant women or women who are imminently planning to become pregnant, consider avoiding travel to any area where there is on-going Zika virus transmission. Women who travel to an area with active Zika transmission should wait at least eight weeks after exposure before having unprotected sex or trying to conceive a baby.

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of infected mosquitoes. During the first week of infection, the virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.

Zika virus can also be spread by sexual activity and it can stay in semen longer than in blood. The CDC recommends men who travel to Zika areas should wait 6 months before having unprotected sex or conceiving a baby. To help reduce the chance of spreading Zika from vaginal, oral and anal intercourse, males should use condoms correctly and consistently every time they have sex. Not having sex is the best way to be sure that someone does not get sexually transmitted Zika virus.

About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick, with the illness lasting from several days to a week with mild symptoms. The most common symptoms are:

  • fever
  • rash
  • joint pain
  • conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Other symptoms include:

  • muscle pain
  • headache

Severe disease symptoms that require hospitalization are uncommon.

The impact of the Zika virus to pregnant women is greater. Pregnant women who are exposed to Zika are at risk of miscarrying or delivering babies with severe congenital deformities. Women with risk for virus exposure, who are pregnant or imminently planning to become pregnant, should contact their maternity care provider immediately. more information


Key points

  • No vaccine exists to prevent Zika virus disease
  • Follow preventative measures to prevent mosquito bites. (see below)
  • About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika become ill
  • The illness is usually mild and lasts several days to a week
  • Severe disease symptoms that require hospitalization are uncommon
  • To help prevent others from getting sick, avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness

 

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Resources

 

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Updated: Feb. 27, 2017