What is Zika virus?

Updated: Jun 30, 2021
  • Author: Bhagyashri D Navalkele, MD, MBBS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Zika virus (ZIKV) belongs to the Flavivirus genus; like other flaviviruses, Zika virus is an icosahedral, enveloped, single-stranded RNA virus. [1] The lipid envelope is covered with dense projections that consist of a membrane and envelope glycoproteins. [1]  

In most cases, Zika virus infection causes a mild, self-limited illness. The incubation period is around 3-14 days. [2] The spectrum of Zika virus disease overlaps with other arboviral infections, but rash (maculopapular and likely immune-mediated) typically predominates. [2]  Unlike other arboviral infections, Zika virus has potential for sexual transmission and has been associated with congenital brain abnormalities in pregnant women infected during the first trimester. 


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