Public Health Alert
Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected species mosquito. The most 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 after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. In fact, 80% of those infected never know they have the disease. That’s especially concerning for pregnant women, as this virus has now been shown to pass through amniotic fluid to the growing baby. Zika is commanding attention because of an alarming connection between the virus and microcephaly, a neurological disorder that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads. It causes severe developmental issues and sometimes death.