Zika Virus

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What is Zika and how is it transmitted?

Zika is a virus that can cause miscarriages or birth defects such as fetal microcephaly or brain and eye abnormalities in pregnant women. These can lead to a range of birth defects from mild to severe disabilities that last a lifetime and in some cases life threatening. Birth defects can include: seizures, developmental delays, feeding problems, loss of hearing and vision, and lack of control of vital body functions. Zika is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be passed from mother to fetus, or sexually transmitted from an infected male partner before or after symptoms start or resolve. About 80% of patients infected with Zika do not show clinical symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

Typical symptoms include: fever, rash, join pain, conjunctivitis (red, inflamed eyes), muscle pain, and headache. The CDC is investigating the possibility of Zika being associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome. Symptoms typically start 2-7 days after exposure. The infection is usually mild and the symptoms usually last a few days to a week. Hospitalizations and death are rare.

1 in 5 infected with the Zika virus will become sick.
The incubation period is likely 2-7 days

Trying to Conceive

The Reproductive Medicine Group supports and follows the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines urging those trying to get pregnant, including women and their partners, to avoid traveling to areas with known active Zika transmission. This includes cruising.

If the female partner traveled to or lived in one of the known active Zika regions, it is recommended to wait 8 weeks after exposure, or after symptoms begin before trying to conceive.

If the male partner traveled to or lived in one of the known active Zika regions, it is recommended to wait 6 months after exposure, or after symptoms begin before trying to conceive.

During this waiting period, partners should use a condom or do not have sex as a precaution.

Is testing for Zika available?

Testing for Zika is now commercially available and can be ordered on any patient who is concerned about recent exposure. Blood testing is most accurate within the first week symptoms begin. Urine testing is recommended by the CDC within 14 days symptoms begin. However, a negative test result only confirms that there is no detectable virus present at the time of testing, but does not rule out Zika infection.

Is there a vaccine available for Zika?

There are not any current medications or vaccinations available to treat or prevent Zika.