Zika Virus

What is Zika Virus?

Prior to 2015, Zika virus outbreaks occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infections in Brazil. Currently, outbreaks are occurring in many countries. Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult to determine how and where the virus will spread over time. Currently, there are travel-associated cases throughout the United States including Pennsylvania. Montgomery County Health Department continues to closely monitor the situation.

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito; it can also be transmitted sexually, or through a blood transfusion, or from a mother to her baby during pregnancy. Common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week and only about one in five people infected with Zika will get sick. Cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome as well adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes have been linked to Zika.

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika and symptoms can be treated by getting plenty of rest and drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. 

Out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends that women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant should postpone travel to countries where the Zika virus is ongoing. Anyone traveling to these locations should be sure to wear long sleeved shirts and long pants, stay in places that use window and door screens, use EPA registered insect repellents, treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items, and sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

More information on Zika Virus and the ongoing outbreak can be found at the CDC Zika Virus Page


3/8/2016 - Montco Reports First Zika Virus Case
4/7/2016 - Advice from MCHD at the Start of the 2016 West Nile Virus Season
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