The Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes infected with the virus. Mosquitoes become infected from biting a person who has the virus. Generally, the symptoms a person has are mild and include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes), lasting several days to a week. Zika can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and passed through sex from a person who has Zika even if the infected person does not have symptoms at the time. Unfortunately, Zika is linked to birth defects like microcephaly. Because of this risk, the CDC has issued travel notices for multiple areas that have had Zika cases. They have also created information specifically for Zika and Pregnancy (PDF).
The areas affected by Zika continue to expand. Local transmission of Zika virus has been reported in the continental U.S. in Miami-Dade County, Fla., including parts of the Miami Beach area. At this time, there have been 17 travel-associated cases of Zika in Kansas in travelers returning from affected countries. View updated information on areas with Zika before you travel and information on Going to Visit Friends or Family in an Area with Zika.
Currently there is no vaccine to prevent infection from Zika. You can prevent infection from Zika by learning about the risks before you travel, protecting yourself from mosquito bites, and protecting yourself during sex by using condoms while in the affected area and after you return home. If a person has Zika, treatment involves managing the symptoms, getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated. If you think you may have or had Zika, talk with your health care provider.
If you are concerned about a risk of exposure to Zika related to upcoming travel, WSU faculty, staff and students can contact Student Health Services at 316-978-3620 to make an appointment with a nurse to discuss travel guidelines. Pregnant women, or women planning to become pregnant, should consult with their OB/GYN.