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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

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 Preconception Counseling and Prevention of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus for Men with Possible Zika Virus Exposure — United States, August 2018

Zika and sexual transmission

Zika Virus in Pregnancy

The CDC is currently recommending that if your sexual partner has traveled to or lives in an area with a risk of 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. 

Zika virus and pregnancy

Prevention and Treatment

There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. CDC is recommending when traveling to areas where Zika virus has been reported or where the mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are present, 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 have occurred in many countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. Locally transmitted Zika virus has been reported in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Zika-affected areas

Zika and Travel

It is recommended that women who are pregnant (in any trimester) do not travel to any area experiencing an outbreak of Zika virus. It is recommended that women who are pregnant (in any trimester), who are traveling to an area with current or past transmission of Zika virus, talk to their healthcare provider about potential risks first. Prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika if you decide to travel. Women who are trying to become pregnant should talk to their healthcare provider about their plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection. Prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika if you decide to travel. All other travelers should follow steps 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 widely established in Iowa and the virus is not circulating in the U.S.  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

  • All travelers should take steps to avoid mosquito bites to prevent Zika virus infection and other mosquito-borne diseases.
  • It is recommended that women who are pregnant (in any trimester) do not travel to any area experiencing an outbreak of Zika virus. It is recommended that women who are pregnant (in any trimester), who are traveling to an area with current or past transmission of Zika virus, talk to their healthcare provider about potential risks first. Prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika if you decide to travel. Women who are trying to become pregnant should talk to their healthcare provider about their plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection. Prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika if you decide to travel. All other travelers should follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.
  • 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 Preconception Counseling and Prevention of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus for Men with Possible Zika Virus Exposure — United States, August 2018

Questions and Answers on Zika and Sexual Transmission

For obstetrical care providers:

For pediatric healthcare providers

Testing for Zika Virus

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).

Zika brochures

Printed materials can be ordered from free by filling out this form

English version / Spanish version

Iowa Department of Public Health
Lucas State Office Building
321 E. 12th Street - Des Moines, IA 50319-0075
Phone: (515) 281-7689
Deaf Relay: (Hearing or Speech Impaired) 711 or 1-800-735-2942

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