As summer approaches, the health and safety of visitors to the Sunshine State is our highest priority.
Below, find resources to help you and your family enjoy your Florida vacation:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Florida Zika Virus Information Hotline: 855-622-6735
Protect Your Home & Business
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Zika?
Zika virus disease is caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting up to a week, and many people do not have symptoms or will have only mild symptoms. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe brain defects.
How do people get infected with Zika?
Zika is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species. A pregnant woman can pass Zika to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Also, a man with Zika can pass it to sex partners. We encourage people who have traveled to or live in places with Zika to protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika.
What are the symptoms of Zika virus disease?
The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Other symptoms include muscle pain and headache. Many people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms or will have mild symptoms, which can last for several days to a week.
How is Zika diagnosed?
To diagnose Zika, your doctor will ask you about recent travel and symptoms you may have, and collect blood or urine to test for Zika or similar viruses.
What health problems can result from getting Zika?
Many people infected with Zika will have no symptoms or mild symptoms that last several days to a week. However, Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), an uncommon sickness of the nervous system, is also very likely triggered by Zika in a small number of cases.
Once someone has been infected with Zika, it’s very likely they’ll be protected from future infections. There is no evidence that past Zika infection poses an increased risk of birth defects in future pregnancies.
If I am traveling to an area with Zika, should I be concerned?
Travelers who go to places with Zika can be infected, and the CDC has issued travel notices for people traveling to those areas. Many people will have mild or no symptoms. However, Zika can cause microcephaly and other severe birth defects. For this reason, pregnant women should not travel to any area with Zika, and women trying to get pregnant should talk to their doctors before traveling or before their male partners travel. Those traveling to areas with Zika should take steps during and after they travel to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika.
What can people do to prevent Zika?
There is currently no vaccine for preventing Zika. The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites:
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors
The sources for the information in this FAQ are the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To learn more, visit their websites at http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/zika-virus/ andhttp://www.cdc.gov/zika/ or contact your local Florida county health department.