Zika Virus
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UCAOA is vigilant in monitoring recommendations from the CDC and other Federal agencies in an effort to keep our members well informed and armed with the information to educate staff and patients. Please check back often for updated information.

The World Health Organization declared a "public health emergency of international concern" over the Zika virus and the health problems that doctors fear it is causing. Zika is a flavivirus transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which also transmits the Dengue and Chikungunya viruses. Transmission is from infected mosquitoes that acquire it from infected humans and has spread rapidly, increasing in many Latin American and Caribbean nations, most notably Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico with over 20 countries reporting active disease and growing.


Zika is a self-limiting disease that causes fever, joint and muscle pains, rash, conjunctivitis, and headache. Though Zika is typically non lethal, it appears to be linked to a significant increase in microcephalic babies in pregnant women that are infected. There has also been a reported increase in Guillain Barre Syndrome in infected individuals though a scientific link has not yet proven this. There is no vaccine and treatment is purely supportive care.


Travelers to endemic regions should be aggressive with prevention methods by avoiding standing water areas where the mosquitos breed. Use of insect repellent containing DEET on the skin and long sleeve shirts and pants. Clothing should be treated with Permethrin. If sleeping outside, mosquito netting is essential.

Patient Care

Urgent care providers should inquire about travel to any of the endemic regions when presented with a patient with these symptoms. Acetaminophen, not NSAIDs or aspirin, are recommended for pain and fever until Dengue is ruled out as this can increase the bleeding risk. Testing is not readily available and providers should contact their state health department for guidance with regards to testing. The CDC and a few state health department labs are able to perform testing on serum.

Additional Resources:

What You Need to Know About Zika, PCMA, Feb. 9, 2016

First Sexually Transmitted Zika Virus Case Happened in the U.S., MD Magazine, Feb. 2, 2016

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. 

World Health Organization

Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys through a monitoring network of sylvatic yellow fever. It was subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

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