Zika is a virus that is usually spread by certain kinds of mosquitoes. It can also be spread from one person to another through sexual contact or blood transfusion. For most people it is a mild infection with few or no symptoms. But it has been linked to health problems in some people. It is a serious concern for pregnant women, their partners and couples planning a pregnancy because it can cause serious birth defects. Zika is not spread from person to person by casual contact.
There have been several outbreaks of Zika virus in Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. In the U.S., no mosquitoes have yet been found carrying the virus. The only cases in the U.S. are in people who got the virus while traveling to Zika-affected areas or through sexual transmission from someone who had traveled to those areas.
Anyone planning to attend the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, or the Paralympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, should follow the recommendations at CDC's travel alert guidelines at 2016 Summer Olympics (Rio 2016).
Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections. Right now, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika.
Public health officials are working hard to learn more about Zika. In the meantime, they are strongly encouraging people to avoid mosquito bites and to control mosquito populations to help make sure Zika doesn't become widespread in the U.S.
Frequently Asked Questions
Zika Information Line
- 1-888-364-4723 - Monday – Friday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)