You've Got What? Zika Virus
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Zika virus infection is an infection in humans caused by the Zika virus.The first human cases were identified in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania. The Australian Government Department of Health has a list of countries with current or recent active circulation of Zika virus.
Knowledge about Zika virus infection is evolving rapidly. Readers are encouraged to refer to the Australian Government Department of Health web page for the most up to date information.
Zika virus infection is a notifiable condition1
Zika virus is spread when a person is bitten by an Aedes mosquito infected with the virus. Spread is mainly through bites from infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes but also through bites from infected Aedes albopticus mosquitoes.
Neither of these mosquitoes are naturally found in South Australia, but Aedes aegypti is found in North Queensland and Central Queensland.
Zika virus can be transmitted from mother to baby during pregnancy or delivery. Sexual transmission is also possible.
Most people (80%) with Zika virus do not have any symptoms. If illness occurs, it usually lasts 4 to 7 days.
Some people may experience fatigue and low energy levels after the initial symptoms resolve.
Zika virus has been linked to:
Individuals who have returned to Australia within two weeks following travel to countries where there is current or recent local Zika virus transmission and become unwell, should see their doctor and mention their overseas travel. Zika virus infection is diagnosed with a blood test. Other infections, such as dengue fever and chikungunya,which occur in the same geographical areas and have similar symptoms, should be excluded. Pregnant women, women at risk of pregnancy, men with a pregnant partner and men who are part of a couple planning pregnancy who have travelled to a Zika virus affected area should see their doctor regarding prevention of transmission and testing.
(time between becoming infected and developing symptoms)
Usually 3 to 12 days.
There is no specific treatment available.
General recommendations include the use of supportive treatments such as rest, fluids and medications for pain relief.
Do not use aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications until dengue fever is excluded. These medications can cause severe bleeding in people with dengue fever.
Aspirin should not be given to children under 12 years of age unless specifically recommended by a doctor.
1 – In South Australia the law requires doctors and laboratories to report some infections or diseases to SA Health. These infections or diseases are commonly referred to as 'notifiable conditions'.