Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. Prior to 2015, Zika virus outbreaks have occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In May 2015, the first confirmed Zika virus infections were discovered in Brazil. The Zika virus is transmitted through mosquito bites. To prevent the Zika Virus, use insect repellents to prevent mosquito bites; this includes everyone (children, pregnant and nursing women). When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
No locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in the continental United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers, and it has recently been predicted that Zika will eventually enter the United States.
It is important to note, that for most people, the Zika virus is relatively mild and not fatal. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
A correlation has identified potential birth defects to infants born to a mother with the Zika virus, specifically microcephaly (a small, underdeveloped brain) that leads to further complications. 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. Pregnant women should strongly consider postponing travel to the tropical climates identified as those where the Zika virus is known to exist.
Though this has not become an issue for the Syracuse University community, we recommend if you have recently traveled abroad to one of the countries listed by the CDC and have any symptoms to follow up with a health professional or contact S.U. Health Services at (315) 443-9005.