Zika virus

The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito and through sexual contact.

Overview

The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito and through sexual contact. This mosquito is found in the (sub-)tropics. The infection is often asymptomatic or causes only mild flu-like symptoms. Infection during pregnancy, however, can cause the child to suffer from physical and mental defects. Women are therefore advised not to travel to the tropics while they're pregnant.

Symptoms

Complications

  • Paralysis
    • Guillain-Barré syndrome
    • Limited in time, progressive
  • Infection during pregnancy
    • Premature birth or miscarriage
    • Child: microcephaly, i.e. head and brain are too small (causes mental deficiency)

Causes and treatment

Causes

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible therapies
  • Identification of pathogen
    • Analysis of blood, saliva or urine
Therapy
  • Treatment of symptoms

What can I do myself?

  • Mosquito protection
    • Light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and long trousers impregnated with mosquito repellent
    • Mosquito nets
    • Mosquito spray
  • Follow the safer sex rules
    • Always use a condom or femidom during sexual intercourse
    • Don't get sperm or blood (including menstrual blood) in your mouth, and don’t swallow
  • Pregnancy (also if planned)
    • Women are expressly advised not to travel to affected areas
  • After trips to the tropics/sub-tropics
    • Wait for at least three menstrual cycles before trying to get pregnant
    • Men should use condoms for at least 3 months
    • Always use condoms until the end of the pregnancy

When to see a doctor?

Further information

Medical advice for travellers
www.safetravel.ch

Information about distribution (countries)
www.cdc.gov

Federal Office of Public Health, FOPH (Bundesamt für Gesundheit, BAG)
www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en

Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Schweizerisches Tropen- und Public Health-Institut)
www.swisstph.ch

Synonyms

Zika virus, Zikavirus, Zika fever

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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