The Zika virus is mainly transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes that bite during the day. Infection can also take place via transmission from mother to child during pregnancy or via sexual contact and via bloodtransfusion.
Infection usually causes no or only mild symptoms (for example an itchy skin rash). Three to twelve days after infection, sometimes the following symptoms occur:
- muscle and joint pain
- red eyes
Neurological complications can develop in rare cases, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome. A Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a miscarriage or birth defects, e.g., a small skull, vision or hearing abnormalities, growth retardation, mental retardation, or epilepsy.
There is no specific treatment. A person who has been infected with Zika probably has life-long protection against a new infection.
Protect yourself against mosquitoes, particularly during the day.
There is no vaccine available yet.