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Zika Virus

Preventing Zika If You are Traveling to an Affected AreA

  • If pregnant, CDC recommends that you should not travel to areas with Zika. Zika virus can cause a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly, in addition to other problems. Please see the latest information from the CDC.
  • CDC has issued a travel notice for people traveling to certain destinations where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Check out CDC's Zika Travel Information for the area you will be traveling to.
  • Carefully review and follow CDC's travel plan for what you should do before, during, and after your trip. It includes information on what to do if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, protecting yourself from mosquito bites, and protecting yourself during sex.

Zika Virus in Dane County

  • Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) is working closely with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WI DHS) and local healthcare providers to monitor any suspected cases of Zika in Dane County.
  • During mosquito season in Dane County, approximately late May through September, PHMDC routinely monitors adult and larvae mosquitoes. In 2017, one of the mosquito species capable of carrying Zika virus, Aedes albopictus, was found for the first time in Dane County, Wisconsin. Mosquito monitoring work is continuing to determine if this mosquito has established itself in Wisconsin or was just recently transported here from southern states where the mosquito is prevalent.

How is Zika Virus spread?

  • Zika primarily spreads through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (ae. Aegypti and ae. Albopictus). A mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person already infected with Zika. The mosquito can then spread the virus by biting more people.
  • Zika can also be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners.
  • It can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth.
  • It is likely that it can be spread through blood transfusion.

Areas with Zika

Why Zika is a Concern

  • Zika infection during pregnancy can cause fetuses to have a birth defect of the brain called microcephaly. Other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika before birth, such as problems with the eyes, hearing and growth. See more information from CDC on Pregnancy and the Zika Virus.
  • There have also been reports of Guillain-Barre' Syndrome, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system, in areas affected by Zika.


  • The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).
  • Onset is usually 2-7 days after a mosquito bite.
  • The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week. Severe illness that requires hospitalization is rare.
  • Only approximately 20% of infected persons display symptoms. Therefore, a person could be infected without knowing.
  • Researchers are studying the link between Zika infection in pregnant women and poor birth outcomes, including microcephaly (a medical condition in which the size of the head is smaller than normal because the brain has not developed properly). The CDC currently recommends that all women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant postpone travel to areas where the Zika virus is present or consult their doctor before traveling.

PHMDC advises individuals with symptoms to see a healthcare provider if they have visited an area where Zika virus is present or had sexual contact with a person who traveled to an area where Zika virus is present.


There is no specific medication available to treat Zika virus and there is not a vaccine. Treat the symptoms:
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Take medicine such as acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain.
  • Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

The best way to avoid Zika virus is to follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and to avoid unprotected sexual contact with a person who has Zika virus.
Rev. 09/01/2016