Zika Virus Fact Sheet

What is Zika virus?​

Zika is a type of virus spread by the bite of infected Aedes species mosquitoes. Aedes species (present in Maryland) also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.

What are the symptoms of Zika infection?

Many people infected with Zika virus do not have symptoms or only get mild symptoms. 

Symptoms last for several days to a week. Hospitalizations and deaths from Zika infection are rare.

Zika virus in babies can cause microcephaly (where the baby’s head is smaller than expected) and other birth defects.

 How is Zika virus spread?

  • Mosquito: Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of infected Aedes species mosquitoes.
  • Pregnancy: Zika virus can be spread from an infected pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth.
  • ​​Sex: Zika can also be passed through sex with an infected person even if the person does not have symptoms at the time. A fetus can get the virus via sexual transmission from the mother.

Can I get Zika from mosquito bites in Maryland?

There have been no cases of Zika from mo​squito bites in Maryland thus far. 

What areas have ongoing Zika virus transmission?​

Zika virus has been detected in a number of countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, North America, the Pacific Islands, and South America. Please visit CDC’s website (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information) for a full list of all the countries affected. 


How can I prevent Zika infection if I am pregnant?

  • ​Consider postponing travel to all areas where Zika virus is transmitted
  • Talk to your healthcare provider first if you must travel to a Zika affected area and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
  • Abstain from sex or use condoms consistently and correctly for the duration of your pregnancy if you have a male partner who lives in or has traveled to an area where Zika transmission is ongoing.
  • Get tested for Zika virus if you are pregnant or have recently returned from travel to areas with ongoing Zika transmission.


Is there treatment for Zika virus infection?

​​There are no specific medicines or vaccine for Zika virus.

·        Treat the symptoms; get plenty of rest.

·        Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.

·        Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to reduce fever and pain.

·        Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding.

·        If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.