Zika Virus: Prevention, Symptoms and Pregnancy We’ll help keep you safe at home or abroad. Book your visit online today! Zika Virus: Prevention and Symptoms Nationwide Travel Health Services Questions? Contact Us Today Mosquito Kits Available Online Booking Options Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean, are some of the most popular destinations for travelers. Whether you are visiting a beach in Puerto Rico or ruins in Mexico, you will encounter mosquitoes. But, Zika is causing major problems, especially for expecting or potential mothers. What Is Zika Virus? The Zika virus spreads through mosquito bites with usually fairly light symptoms. Outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. In recent years, the virus gained a foothold in Brazil. It has since been moving northward infecting mosquitoes and humans in 97 countries. There is currently no vaccine to prevent Zika and no medicine to treat it. The best protection is through preventing mosquito bites and avoiding regions with the virus. While Zika’s symptoms are generally mild, pregnant mothers and their unborn child have the greatest risk. The virus can cause birth defects in babies whose mothers contract the it while pregnant. The exact nature of all defects and when they are most likely to occur is still under investigation. How Does Zika Virus Spread? As a mosquito-borne disease, Zika spreads among mosquito populations and from them to humans. The species that carry Zika virus are the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The Aedes aegypti also carry dengue fever, yellow fever and chikungunya. They usually lives in tropical areas, with populations in Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas. Not every region has active Zika transmission. The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes bite in day. But, they be found at night in busy areas. A mosquito will be infected with the virus after biting a person who has Zika. The insect can then spread Zika to any human it bites. Zika can also be transferred from person-to-person through sexual contact. A person can spread the virus to a sexual partner even if they are not showing any symptoms. Men carry Zika for a longer period of time than women and can spread the virus at least 6 months after infection. Rarely, a mother infected with the virus will pass it on to her child in utero. This form of transmission is under investigation by global health organizations. There have been no reports of infants contracting the virus through breast feeding. Customer Reviews Passport Health Zika Prevention Overall rating: 5 stars – 5 reviews ❮❯ ★★★★★ “Great Clinic““This clinic was recommended by my daughters pediatrician, since we were worried about Zika for her travel to the Dominican Republic. The nurse was very thorough. She went over my daughter’s shot record. Walked us through what was recommended and all of our options. Greatly appreciated the many suggestions on what she could get for her trip to help keep her safe. This is an excellent service.” Submitted by: Ron ★★★★★ “Fantastic Visit““I’m really sold on Passport Health now that I’ve recently visited to have my tetanus, typhoid and Zika prevention. The nurse was highly informative and went over a detailed review of my upcoming trip to Morocco, as well as general information that is valuable for all travelers. She was extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of potential health hazards abroad and did a good job with the injections, as well. This is a place that doesn’t rush the entire process but takes time to go over everything with great thoroughness. I will only be getting my immunizations here in the future due to their professionalism.” Submitted by: Erica ★★★★★ “One Stop Shop““Since my Medicar didn’t cover shots for a trip to Indonesia, I came to Passport Health and so glad to find this great travel resource! They go far beyond just a health clinic for shots with travel kits for safe water, mosquitoes and a handy spiral book with essential info about the region you are traveling! The nurse was professional, gentle and took time to talk through options for meditation.” Submitted by: Margaret ★★★★★ “Completely thorough““Our nurse practitioner, was prepared and fully informed about everything that I need for my trip to Thailand and Myanmar. Passport also had all the supplies I need (diarrhea, mosquito repellent for my skin and also for my clothing, info on Zika). Passport makes these aspects of travel easy. Thank you.” Submitted by: Harry ★★★★★ “Great visit““The nurse was very friendly and thorough. She went through my trip with me and gave me all of my options for prevention. She was patient and gave me time to make decisions. As an aside, Passport has, in my opinion, the best bug repellent on the market. I used it on a trip to Peru for Zika and was the only one in my hiking group that did not get bitten by mosquitos.” Submitted by: Audra How To Prevent Zika Virus? Zika is a mosquito-borne disease that has no vaccine nor cure. The best form of prevention is avoiding or repelling mosquitoes. CDC recommendations include: Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, OLE or IR3535. Wear clothing treated with a repellent like permethrin. Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants to cover exposed skin. Stay and sleep in screened or air conditioned rooms. Consider using mosquito netting depending on your itinerary. Avoid non-essential travel to areas affected by Zika if you are pregnant or may become pregnant. See our section below on Zika and pregnancy. Many organizations recommend travelers speak with a travel health clinic like Passport Health before leaving. Schedule an appointment at the Passport Health clinic nearest you today! Is There a Vaccine for Zika Virus? There is currently no vaccine for Zika virus. Many vaccines are in development for a solution to the Zika virus. A potential vaccine manufactured in the United States is undergoing trial testing. Tests will focus in countries throughout the Americas. We will update this section as more information becomes available. What Are the Symptoms of Zika Virus? Zika is a generally mild disease, though there are some possible complications. Only about 20 percent of those infected with the virus fall ill. Symptoms are usually mild and last anywhere from several days to a week. Severe illness is uncommon and deaths are rare. If infected, the virus will often stay in a person’s blood for one week. Seek medical attention if you have these symptoms. Health agencies recommend travelers speak with a travel health specialist before visiting areas with Zika. If you are traveling to an affected area, call or schedule your appointment online with Passport Health today! Zika Symptoms Common High Risk Fever Fetal Infection Rash Birth Defects Joint/Muscle Pain Microcephaly Headache Asymptomatic Transmission Conjunctivitis (pink eye) Long-term Sexual Transmission (up to 6 months) Source: Centers for Disease Control Zika Virus and Pregnancy Research shows the Zika virus can spread from a pregnant mother to her unborn baby. Studies show the virus can cause microcephaly (shrinking of a baby’s head) and other health complications. Zika may also increase chances of miscarriage for pregnant women. Up to 1 in 10 pregnant women in the U.S. with Zika virus expierenced some birth defect for the fetus. The effects of Zika on pregnant mothers and their children are under investigation. The CDC recommends special precautions for: Women who are pregnant (in any trimester): Consider postponing travel to any area where Zika may be present. If you must travel to these areas, speak to your doctor before traveling. Strictly follow all methods outlined above to avoid mosquito bites. Women who are trying to become pregnant: Talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risks of Zika virus. Strictly follow all methods outlined above to avoid mosquito bites. Where Is Zika Virus Found? Source: CDC, ECDC After originating in Uganda 70 years ago, the virus made its way to nearby regions that were home to the same mosquitoes. Today, Zika poses a risk in 97 countries, from Southeast Asia to Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas. Billions of people around the world are at risk of catching the virus. The regions that pose an elevated risk for Zika virus are: Africa – Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria Asia – Cambodia, India, Thailand Caribbean – Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica Central America – Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panamá North America – Mexico Pacific Islands – Fiji, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea South America – Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru The virus is present in other countries. Be sure to check our destination advice section to learn if Zika could affect your trip. For more information on the Zika virus or to schedule your appointment feel free to call at or book online now!