The Zika virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito that carries the virus. When it causes symptoms (in about one out of every five infections), it typically produces a disease that lasts a few days to a week. Common Zika fever symptoms and signs include
Most people who get the infection have an excellent prognosis and recover completely without complications. However, in Brazil, the viral infection has been linked to a birth defect known as microcephaly (small head and small brain size) in newborns whose mothers became infected with Zika virus during their pregnancy.
Causes of Zika virus infection
Zika virus is a flavivirus that is related to dengue fever, West Nile, yellow fever, and Japanese encephalitis viruses (Flaviviridae). These viruses are transmitted to humans by mosquito bites, and this is the primary method of spread. Blood product transfusions and organ transplantation may allow rare person-to-person transmission. Other possible methods of spread may be mother to fetus and under certain conditions, by sexual contact. About one in five people who become infected develop symptoms and signs.
Other zika virus infection symptoms and signs
Main Article on Zika Virus Infection Symptoms and Signs
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
West Nile Virus Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
West Nile virus is spread through infected mosquitoes. Learn about this mosquito borne illness, its causes, symptoms like...
Zika Fever Quiz: Get Facts On Zika Infection
What do you need to know about Zika? Take this quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, treatments and prevention methods for this...
Zika Virus Baby, Symptoms, Vaccine, Treatments
Learn to spot Zika virus symptoms. Find out how Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, Zika's effects on pregnancy, as well as...
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter