THE ZIKA VIRUS: PROTECTING YOUR PREGNANCY
THE ZIKA VIRUS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
EL VIRUS ZIKA: LO QUE NECESITA SABER
#FASTFACTS ABOUT THE ZIKA VIRUS
What we know and what we don't know
- Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These mosquitoes bite during the day.
- Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.
- There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Through mosquito bites
- Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.
From mother to child
- A pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy. Zika is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. We are studying the full range of other potential health problems that Zika virus infection during pregnancy may cause.
- A pregnant woman already infected with Zika virus can pass the virus to her fetus during the pregnancy or around the time of birth.
- To date, there are no reports of infants getting Zika virus through breastfeeding. Because of the benefits of breastfeeding, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed even in areas with risk of Zika.
- Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her partners. Zika can be passed through sex, even if the infected person does not have symptoms at the time. Learn how to protect yourself during sex.
- It can be passed from a person with Zika before their symptoms start, while they have symptoms, and after their symptoms end.
- Though not well documented, the virus may also be passed by a person who carries the virus but never develops symptoms.
- Studies are underway to find out how long Zika stays in the semen and vaginal fluids of people who have Zika, and how long it can be passed to sex partners. We know that Zika can remain in semen longer than in other body fluids, including vaginal fluids, urine, and blood.
Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Muscle pain
Zika is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. 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. Symptoms of Zika are similar to other viruses spread through mosquito bites, like dengue and chikungunya.
Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week. See your doctor or other healthcare provider if you develop symptoms and you live in or have recently traveled to an area with risk of Zika. Your doctor or other healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
What we know
- Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms.
- A blood or urine test can confirm Zika infection diagnosis.
- There is no specific medicine for Zika.
To diagnose Zika, your doctor will ask you about recent travel and symptoms you may have, and collect blood or urine to test for Zika or similar viruses.
- No vaccine exists to prevent Zika.
- Prevent Zika by avoiding mosquito bites.
- Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite during the day and night.
- Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.
- Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners. Condoms can reduce the chance of getting Zika from sex. Condoms include male and female condoms.
What we know
- Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
- Infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.
- Zika primarily spreads through infected mosquitoes. You can also get Zika through sex without a condom with someone infected by Zika, even if that person does not show symptoms of Zika.
- There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika.
What we do not know
- How likely it is that Zika infection will affect your pregnancy.
- If your baby will have birth defects if you are infected while pregnant.
- The full range of health effects that Zika virus infection during pregnancy might lead to.
The Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross is working with all of our partners to equip our volunteers and the general public about The Zika Virus and the risks involved. Our programmes include:
- Training of Volunteers
- Creation of IEC Materials (Brochures, Posters, Billboards and Banners to raise awareness)
- Distribution of IEC MAterials to Partners, Schools and Community Clinics
- Creation of PSA’s to be aired on National Television, Radio and Social Media
- Community Outreach and Surveys
- Community Cleanup Activities
- School Cleanup Competition
- School Zika Jingle Competition
- School Outreach and Presentations
- Zika Forum with the Directorate of Gender Affairs and the Antigua and Barbuda Planned Parenthood Association