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Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus transmitted by Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes.

The same mosquito also transmits three other vector-borne diseases:

  1. Dengue
  2. Chikungunya and
  3. Yellow fever – across tropical and subtropical regions around the world.

Zika virus disease outbreaks were reported for the first time from the Pacific in 2007 and 2013 (Yap and French Polynesia, respectively), and in 2015 from the Americas (Brazil and Colombia) and Africa (Cape Verde). In addition, more than 13 countries in the Americas have reported sporadic Zika virus infections indicating rapid geographic expansion of Zika virus.

Key facts about Zika 

  • Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes
  • People with Zika virus disease usually have a mild fever, skin rash (exanthema) and conjunctivitis
  • These symptoms normally last for two to seven days
  • There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available
  • The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites
  • The virus is known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific

Pregnancy and Zika Virus

Officials continue to explore possible links between Zika in pregnant women and microcephaly in their babies. The CDC now is advising pregnant women to consider delaying travel to Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde and Samoa.

Signs and symptoms of Zika

The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) of Zika virus disease is not clear, but is likely to be a few days. The symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms are usually mild and last for two – seven days.

Treatment options for Zika

As with all health conditions, see your GP for diagnosis and treatment. Zika virus disease is usually relatively mild and requires no specific treatment. See your GP if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where Zika is found. If you have recently traveled, tell your GP when and where you traveled. Your GP may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya. People sick with Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice.

Prevention of mosquito born diseases like Zika

There is no vaccine for Zika virus. To lower the risk of being infected with Zika virus:

  • Use insect repellent
  • Cover as much of the body as possible with long, light-coloured clothing
  • Empty, clean or cover containers that can hold water to remove places mosquitoes can breed
  • Sleep under mosquito nets

Ask Calanna

Ask your Calanna Pharmacist for advice:

  • If you have been traveling in an area affected by Zika and you feel unwell, see your GP immediately
  • To relieve mild pain and fever, ask your Calanna Pharmacist for advice about paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Drink plenty of water – at least six glasses per day
  • If you are planning a trip to an area affected by Zika, ask your Calanna Pharmacist to recommend a suitable insect repellant


DISCLAIMER: This information is an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, nurse or naturopath before following any medical regimen to see whether it is safe and effective for you.