March 04, 2016

You’ve probably heard about the Zika virus on the news and are concerned about what it could mean for your pregnancy. Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of the virus being widespread in Colorado . Still, you may have questions about Zika virus and how you can protect your baby.

Here are some common questions and tips on how to prevent exposure to Zika.

What is Zika?

Simply put, Zika is a disease caused by a bite from an infected Aedes mosquito. Recently, there has been a Zika outbreak in multiple countries, leading to the CDC to declare it a public health emergency of international concern. There have also been a couple of cases where Zika has been spread through sexual transmission, though those cases are rare.

What are the symptoms of Zika?

  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Red eyes

Is Zika deadly?

Not normally. In fact, most people make a full recovery without complications or even seeing a doctor. Symptoms typically only last for a week. In fact, only one in five people bitten by an infected mosquito develop Zika. Those who do will usually only treat it like a 24-hour bug because symptoms disappear so quickly.

Why is Zika a health risk for pregnant women?

When a pregnant woman becomes infected with the Zika virus, the baby has a high risk of also having the virus. Studies have shown there is a direct link between Zika and microcephaly, a neurological disorder where babies are born with abnormally small heads and brains. This condition can also cause blindness.

Is Zika contagious?

No, Zika is not airborne.

Is there a cure for the Zika virus?

There is currently no known cure.

Where should I avoid traveling?

Consult the CDC’s website for up-to-date information. Women who are also trying to become pregnant should avoid traveling to countries with Zika-infected mosquitos.

How do I prevent the Zika virus?

Follow the CDC’s interim guidelines to learn more about how you can prevent the Zika virus. Ultimately, the best defense is to not travel to areas experiencing Zika outbreaks.

Consult your doctor if you have any additional questions about the Zika virus or if you have traveled to any areas on the CDC’s travel list.