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Zika Virus: What You Need to Know

Zika virus infection is not new.

This virus was first discovered in 1947 in Zika Forest of Uganda, thus named Zika virus. Human cases first appearing in 1952 in Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania. Sporadic outbreaks have occurred since then, in Africa and Southeast Asia, with one of the largest outbreaks occurring on the Pacific Island of Yap in 2007. The virus then spread to French Polynesia, Easter Island, Cook Island, and New Caledonia in 2013/2014.

Most recently, in 2015, the virus has spread to South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Map of areas with Zika Virus:

(Image Credit: Center for Disease Control)


  • Zika virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquito which tend to bite in the daytime
  • Sexual transmission (male to partner; female to partner)
  • Via blood transfusion, lab exposure, organ/tissue transplantation
  • Maternal/fetal: intrauterine/perinatal


Most patients are asymptomatic. However, those with symptoms may have: Fever, Headaches, Muscle aches, Joint pains, rash, and red eyes. Symptoms usually last around 4-7 days.


  • Microcephaly: condition where infants head is significantly smaller than normal
  • Fetal loss
  • Guillian Barre Syndrome-an autoimmune neurological complication


  • Insect repellent during daytime hours is important
  • Avoid standing/activities near stagnant water
  • Abstinence or male condom use is recommended after travel to risk area:
    -If Asymptomatic: 6 months after return
    -If Symptomatic: 6 months from lab-confirmed infection
    -For duration of pregnancy if female partner pregnant
    -Pending test results
  • There is no vaccine available at this time.

Questions about conception: Please speak to your health care provider or visit us at Beacon Center for Infectious Diseases.

For more information: please make an appointment at Beacon Center for Infectious Diseases at: 303-415-8850. We would be happy to discuss any questions, concerns, pre-conception guidelines and pre-travel advice.