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Zika is a disease caused by a virus primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. Most people who are infected with Zika do not develop symptoms. About one in five people infected with the virus develop the disease and symptoms are generally mild. Anyone who lives or travels in the impacted areas can be infected.
For printable facts and information on Zika and mosquito control, visit: http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/files/zikafaq.pdf (English);http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/files/zikafaqsp.pdf (Español); http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/files/zikafaqhc.pdf (kreyòl ayisyen)
To learn more to protect employees working outdoors, visit http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/files/zikaosha.pdf (English) and http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/files/zikaoshasp.pdf (Español).
The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms typically begin two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. It can also be transmitted during sexual activity, or from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. We do not know how often Zika is transmitted from mother to baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth.
In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.
Those who recently traveled or plan to travel to areas where Zika transmission is ongoing could be at risk. For the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of countries, visit: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.
Zika is generally a mild illness, but there have been very few reports of potential links to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS); however, it is not yet known if Zika virus infection causes GBS.
The largest health impact of the Zika virus appears to be on infants whose mother was infected during pregnancy. There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly, a condition in which a baby's head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age, as well as other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.
Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant can find more information by visiting:
The mosquito that most commonly transmits Zika (Aedes aegypti), as well as dengue and chikungunya, is very rare in Delaware. But we do have another Aedes species of concern for possible transmission of Zika, the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus. Local Zika transmission via a mosquito is possible during mosquito season but it depends on a variety of factors. Regardless of the type of illness, the message is the same for every mosquito season and during travel: always protect yourself from bites. There are too many serious mosquito-borne illnesses to risk a bite.
To prevent mosquito bites:
Zika, and many other mosquito-borne illnesses are considered "mandatory reports", meaning that health care providers are required to report individuals with known or suspected Zika virus infection to the Division of Public Health (DPH). This includes anyone with known or suspected Zika, but reporting is especially important in the cases of pregnant women, as well as newborns and infants born to women with known or suspected Zika infection.
Because of the similar geographic distribution and clinical presentation of Zika, dengue, and chikungunya virus infection, patients with symptoms consistent with Zika virus should also be evaluated for dengue and chikungunya virus infection, in accordance with existing guidelines.
To report a case of Zika virus or for further information, call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 302-744-4990 or fill out one of the forms below and fax or email to the Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 302-223-1540 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Providers are also encouraged to contact a DPH infectious disease epidemiologist prior to collecting specimens as all testing must be pre-authorized. At the time of this call, the epidemiologist will gather necessary travel and clinical history and assist with specimen coordination if testing is authorized.
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