The Zika virus is a disease that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The illness is usually mild with symptoms — fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes) — lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.
However, the Zika virus is now known to cause birth defects when pregnant women become infected through mosquito or sexual transmission. This has led to an ongoing collaboration between federal, state and local agencies to raise awareness about and prevent the spread of the Zika virus.
In response, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), along with state and local health departments, are monitoring the spread of Zika virus, and have issued advisories for people traveling to certain countries
There is no vaccine against the Zika virus. Because of this risk, pregnant women should take extra precautions as outlined on this downloadable guide. Travelers returning from regions with ongoing Zika transmission, such as the Caribbean and Central and South America, may have been exposed to the virus. Marylanders who have questions about how their travel histories might affect their risk are advised to consult their physicians.
The best way to reduce the risk and spread of mosquito-borne diseases like Zika is to control mosquitoes in your own backyard.
You can also learn to learn how to build your own Zika Prevention Kit to reduce your risk of getting Zika.
Your kit should include:
- A bed net
- Insect repellent
- Permethrin spray
- Standing water treatment tabs