Zika

Latest update: - Authors: Mieke Croughs, Ula Maniewski-Kelner

The Zika virus is mainly transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes that bite during the day. Infection can also take place via sexual contact and via transmission from mother to child during pregnancy.

Infection usually causes no or only mild symptoms, such as an itchy skin rash. Sometimes a fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and red eyes will develop three to twelve days after infection.

The disease is often mild, but neurological complications can develop in rare cases, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome. A Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a miscarriage or birth defects, such as a small skull, vision or hearing abnormalities, growth retardation, mental retardation or epilepsy.

There is no specific treatment. A person who has been infected with Zika probably has life-long protection against a new infection. 

Risk areas

Zika occurs in several countries in Asia, Africa and Latin-America.

Prevention

Mosquito-repellent measures

Protect yourself against mosquitoes, particularly during the day.

Vaccination

There is no vaccine available yet.

You are pregnant?

  • Do not travel to areas with an outbreak of Zika. These are the regions marked in red on the CDC map. 
  • If you are considering travel to a region where Zika occurs, but with no current outbreaks (purple areas on the map):
    • Discuss the risks with your doctor.
    • If you do travel, protect yourself against mosquitoes during the day.
    • You can get tested after your return. In case of symptoms, the bloodtest should be done as soon as possible, if you have not had any symptoms, it should be performed three weeks after return.

You want to get pregnant?

  • Discuss the risk with your doctor if you are considering travel to a region where Zika occurs  (red and purple areas on the map). If you do travel, protect yourself against mosquitoes during the day. 
  • Wait before getting pregnant until: 
    • 3 months after returning home. 
    • Or 2 months if the future father did not stay in regions at risk.  

You are a man and your partner is pregnant?

  • Protect yourself against mosquitoes during the day if you're staying in an area where zika occurs. 
  • Use condoms until after the delivery.
  • Or you can get tested after your return. In case of symptoms, the bloodtest should be done as soon as possible, if you have not had any symptoms, it should be performed three weeks after return.

You are a man and your partner wants to get pregnant?

  • Protect yourself against mosquitoes during the day if you're staying in an area where zika occurs. 
  • Postpone pregnancy until 3 months after returning home. 

In case of symptoms

Seek medical advice if you suffer any symptoms.

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