What is the Zika Virus?
The Zika virus is named for the Zika forest of Uganda, where the virus was first discovered. The virus is mainly spread through bites from infected mosquitos and not person to person like the influenza virus, although transmission through blood transfusions and sexual contact have been reported. The most common symptoms of the Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes and headache. Approximately one in five people who contract the Zika virus will become sick, with symptoms lasting up to a week. Although the symptoms of the Zika virus are quite mild for most people. Women who are pregnant seem to be at greater risks for birth defects. There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly (a condition in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected with diminished brain development) and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. If you are pregnant please consider postponing travel to countries where Zika transmission is ongoing.
Illinois Department of Public Health: http://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/zika
Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/