Zika virus is an infection that usually is spread from the bite of a specific type of infected mosquito, though it also can be spread through sexual contact with an infected person or possibly through blood transfusions. Additionally, it can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and the infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. Zika often causes no symptoms or only mild symptoms, though it can cause fever, rash, headache, joint/muscle pain, and red eyes. Symptoms can last for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and deaths from Zika are extremely rare.

There is no vaccine or medication treatment for Zika. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), fluids, and rest may help with the symptoms. Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should not be used to treat Zika. The best way to protect against Zika infection is to avoid mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, using insect repellant, and taking other steps to fight mosquitos at home and when outdoors. Once a person has been infected with Zika, he/she is likely to be protected against future infections. Zika is named after the Zika Forest in the African country of Uganda.


The UAB Travelers Health Clinic features highly skilled experts certified by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and maintain familiarity with exotic diseases in 219 different countries. Our physicians stay up to date on the latest research and on changing disease patterns to provide the best care possible. Because our physicians take leadership roles in professional medical societies and author textbooks that are teaching the travel medicine physicians of tomorrow, they are nationally and internationally renowned for their care.




UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

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