What is Zika?
Zika is a viral disease caused by the Zika virus.
Where does Zika occur?
Zika occurs in many tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world, particularly in Africa, Southeast Asia, and islands in the Pacific Ocean. The first report of local transmission of Zika virus in the Western Hemisphere occurred in Brazil during May 2015. Since that time, local transmission has been identified in numerous countries and territories in the Americas.
How do people get infected with Zika?
The Aedes species mosquitoes transmit the Zika virus. They most frequently bite during the daytime, both indoors and outdoors. They are most active during the early morning and late afternoon. The Aedes mosquito is found in Oklahoma, but local transmission has not been identified. The virus can be found in the blood stream of infected people during the first 7 days of infection and during that time it has the potential to be picked up from the infected person by an Aedes species mosquito. That infected mosquito could then transmit the virus to other people through a mosquito bite. There is little evidence to suggest that the virus can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, sexual transmission. Perinatal (mother-to-fetus) transmission is considered rare and is undergoing further investigation.
What are the symptoms of Zika and how soon after infection do they occur?
Symptoms can be similar to those of dengue and chikungunya (which are also spread through the same species of mosquitos that transmit Zika.) Symptoms occur about 1 out of 5 individuals that are infected and most commonly present as fever, rash, conjunctivitis (red eyes) or joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache and muscle pain. Symptoms usually begin 2 - 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, and last several days to a week. Severe cases requiring hospitalization are uncommon and death from Zika is rare.
For more information on the Zika virus download the Fact Sheet here.