Zika virus is a virus spread to people through mosquito bites of Aedes species mosquitoes; sexual transmission of Zika virus is also known to occur. Aedes mosquitoes also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. There have been reports of limited, local mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus in certain areas of the United States; however, no local mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus has been identified in Maryland at this time. The species of Aedes mosquito responsible for most Zika virus transmission, Aedes aegypti, is not commonly found in Maryland.
The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
In May 2015, Zika virus was identified in Brazil and resulted in a large outbreak in that country that has now spread to most other countries in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. In April 2016, CDC concluded that Zika virus infection in pregnant woman can cause poor pregnancy outcomes, including early fetal losses and babies with a condition called microcephaly. Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. In response, CDC has issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. There have also been reports of a potential association between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disease that can affect children and adults.
Click here for an explanation of how Zika cases are counted
Information for Pregnant Women
DHMH Zika Videos
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