Read this page for information about the Zika virus, how it is transmitted, and how you can protect yourself.
What is Zika?
- Symptoms: Zika is a virus. Most people with Zika don’t have symptoms. When they do, the most common ones are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Make sure you tell a doctor or nurse if you or your sex partner have any of these symptoms. Zika can also cause serious problems in pregnancy.
- How it’s spread: Mostly from mosquitos. But it can also be spread from a pregnant woman to her baby and through semen during anal, oral, or vaginal sex.
- Where it is: Florida has confirmed some local transmissions of the Zika virus mostly in Miami-Dade County. Right now, it’s mostly in Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
How can I prevent Zika?
- Avoid traveling to areas where there is active Zika. If you can’t, avoid mosquito bites by using bug spray, keeping windows closed, and wearing protective clothes.
- If you are not trying to get pregnant and you or your partner travel to an area with active Zika, use condoms during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
- If you are trying to get pregnant and travel to an area with active Zika, wait at least 8 weeks to start trying. If your partner has Zika, wait at least 6 months after their symptoms started before trying. If you have questions about preventing pregnancy, Planned Parenthood can help.
- If you are pregnant and travel to an area with active Zika, use condoms every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex for the rest of the pregnancy.
How does Zika affect pregnancies?
Zika does not always cause serious problems in pregnancy - but no one can predict which pregnancies will be affected. If you have Zika while you are pregnant, it can cause:
- Microcephaly and other serious brain problems in your baby.
- Eye problems, hearing loss, seizures, and growth problems in your baby.
Should I get tested?
- If you may have been exposed to Zika and have symptoms, get tested. Planned Parenthood staff can help you decide if you should be tested.
- If you are pregnant and would like to be tested, all county health departments are offering free testing.
- If you test positive and are pregnant, your prenatal care doctor or nurse will check the pregnancy. Microcephaly can be hard to find before the third trimester.
Is there a cure for Zika?
At this time there is no treatment or vaccine for Zika.