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Zika Virus

About 20 percent of people infected with Zika virus will become ill. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. While illness is usually mild and severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon, there is a possible link between Zika virus infection in pregnant women and subsequent birth defects. CDC is working with other public health officials to monitor Zika virus transmission and potential links between Zika virus infection during pregnancy and birth defects.

Zika virus disease Q&A

Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Zika Virus Updates

Weekly updates on Zika cases in Iowa will be posted each Monday. The first travel-associated Zika case was reported by IDPH February 19, 2016.

Zika Update 5.27.16 

Zika Update 5.20.16

Zika Update 5.13.16

Zika Update 5.6.15  

Zika Update 4.29.16

Zika Update 4.22.16

Zika Update 4.15.16

Zika Update 4.8.16

Zika Update 4.1.16

Zika Update - 3.25.16 

Zika Update - 3.18.16

Zika Update - 3.11.16 PDF

Zika Update - 3.4.16 PDF

Zika Update - 2.26.16 PDF

Zika Update - 2.19.16 PDF

How is Zika Virus Spread?

Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitos are present in many tropical and subtropical environments and are aggressive daytime biters. The mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

If a mother is infected during pregnancy, it can more rarely be passed from mother to child. It can also possibly be passed through infected blood (during a blood transfusion) or sexual contact.

Zika virus transmission

Update: Interim Guidance for Prevention of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus-United States, 2016

Zika and sexual transmission

Zika Virus in Pregnancy

There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly (meaning small head) and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Knowledge of the link between Zika and these outcomes is evolving.

The CDC is currently recommending that if your male sexual partner has traveled to or lives in an area with active Zika virus transmission you should abstain from sex or use condoms the right way every time you have vaginal, anal, and oral sex for the duration of the pregnancy.

Testing for Zika virus can be offered to symptomatic and non-symptomatic women who traveled to an area with ongoing Zika virus transmission. Healthcare providers suspecting a potential case of Zika virus should contact the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology at 800-362-2736.

Zika virus and pregnancy Q&A

Prevention and Treatment

There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Until more is known, CDC is recommending when traveling to countries where Zika virus has been reported, travelers should take steps to prevent mosquito bites.

Where is Zika?

Prior to 2015, Zika virus outbreaks have occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Since May 2015, outbreaks are occurring in many countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. No locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in the continental United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers. Locally transmitted Zika virus has been reported in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Zika-affected areas map

Zika and Travel

It is recommended that women who are pregnant (in any trimester) consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip. Women who are trying to become pregnant should talk to their doctor about their plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection. Strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip. All other travelers should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites. CDC has issued Level 2 Alerts to Zika-affected areas advising travelers to take measures to prevent mosquito bites.

Zika travel information

Can Iowans Get Zika Virus?

The mosquitoes that are transmitting Zika virus in other areas of the world are not established in Iowa, so the risk to Iowans occurs when they travel to Zika-affected areas. Iowans should follow the travel recommendations above.

Information for Employers

Interim guidance for protecting workers from occupational exposure

Information for Healthcare Providers

  • Zika virus infection should be considered in patients with acute fever, rash, arthralgia, or conjunctivitis, who traveled to areas with ongoing transmission in the two weeks prior to onset of illness.
  • All travelers should take steps to avoid mosquito bites to prevent Zika virus infection and other mosquito-borne diseases.
  • Until more is known and out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctors or other healthcare providers first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare providers before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
  • Fetuses and infants of women infected with Zika virus during pregnancy should be evaluated for possible congenital infection and neurologic abnormalities.

Zika information for healthcare providers

Update: Interim Guidance for Prevention of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus-United States, 2016

Questions and Answers on Zika and Sexual Transmission

For obstetrical care providers:

For pediatric healthcare providers

Testing for Zika Virus

There are no commercially available diagnostic tests for Zika virus disease. Zika virus testing is performed at the CDC Arbovirus Diagnostic Laboratory and a few state health departments. Healthcare providers suspecting a potential case of Zika virus should contact the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology at 800-362-2736.  CADE staff will consult with the provider to determine whether the case meets the CDC testing criteria. If testing is warranted, CADE staff will work with the provider to determine which specimens to collect and make arrangements for the courier to pick up collected specimens and deliver them to the State Hygienic Laboratory (the state’s public health laboratory) where they will be packaged and sent to the CDC for testing.

For more information about emerging health issues, contact Polly Carver-Kimm at (515) 281-6693

or use the Contact Us system to submit a question online.