A Zika Q&A for Ob/Gyns

Stephanie Cajigal


February 03, 2016

In This Article

Editor's Note:
According to a recent Medscape poll, a majority of ob/gyns don't feel well prepared to care for patients infected with Zika, a mosquito-borne virus thought to be causing microcephaly among thousands of newborns in Latin America and the Caribbean. To answer your questions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put together the following Q&A. Visit the CDC website for the full text.

Update: This article was last updated February 8th.

How Zika Is Transmitted

How is Zika virus transmitted?

Zika virus is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Aedes mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters and feed both indoors and outdoors. They can also bite at night. Zika virus can be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. We do not know how often Zika perinatal transmission occurs. Sexual transmission of Zika virus is possible.

What are symptoms of Zika virus infection?

About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become symptomatic. Characteristic clinical findings are acute onset of fever with maculopapular rash, arthralgia, or conjunctivitis. Other commonly reported symptoms include myalgia and headache. Clinical illness is usually mild, with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.

What is the potential for Zika virus to spread to the United States?

Currently, local transmission of Zika virus has not been reported in the continental United States but has been reported in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. With the current outbreaks in the Americas, the number of cases among U.S. travelers is expected to increase. As the number of returning travelers with Zika virus disease increases, viral introduction and local spread in the U.S. may occur. As more information before available, CDC will provide updates on its Zika website.


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