This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Zika virus infection is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Zika virus can also be spread from a pregnant mother to her child and through sexual contact with an affected partner. Cases of Zika virus transmission via blood transfusion have also been reported. Zika virus outbreaks are currently occurring in many countries. The illness associated with Zika virus infection is usually mild, with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). However, research has suggested an association between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) in a small percentage of cases. Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause adverse pregnancy outcomes, including microcephaly and other serious brain defects. The full range of health problems associated with Zika virus infection during pregnancy is currently being studied.  No vaccine currently exists to prevent Zika virus infection, but there are still ways to protect oneself. The CDC recommends that pregnant women consider postponing travel to Zika-affected areas. People living in or traveling to areas where Zika virus is found should take steps to prevent mosquito bites. Those who have traveled to Zika-affected areas may wish to take steps to prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus.
For more information, visit GARD.