Self-management

The mosquito that carries Zika virus is found worldwide.

Stay up-to-date on virus disease cases on the CDC's Zika virus disease website.

There is no vaccine to protect against Zika virus disease.

The CDC recommends all pregnant women avoid traveling to areas where there is an outbreak of Zika virus. If you are trying to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about any upcoming travel plans and the risk of getting infected with Zika virus.

If you have a male partner who lives in or has traveled to an area where there is an outbreak of Zika virus, the CDC recommends abstaining from sex during pregnancy or using a condom during sexual contact.

If you are living or traveling in tropical areas where Zika virus is known to be, these tips may help reduce your risk of mosquito bites:

  • Stay in air-conditioned or well-screened housing. The mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus are most active from dawn to dusk, but they can also bite at night. Consider sleeping under a mosquito bed net, especially if you are outside.
  • Wear protective clothing. When you go into mosquito-infested areas, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks and shoes.
  • Use mosquito repellent. Permethrin can be applied to your clothing, shoes, camping gear and bed netting. You also can buy clothing made with permethrin already in it. For your skin, use a repellent containing at least a 10 percent concentration of DEET.

    When used as directed, insect repellents that are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are proven safe and effective for pregnant and breast-feeding women.

  • Reduce mosquito habitat. The mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus typically live in and around houses, breeding in standing water that can collect in such things as animal dishes, flower pots and used automobile tires. Reduce the breeding habitat to lower mosquito populations.

Zika virus transmitted through blood transfusion

All blood donations are now screened for Zika virus. To further reduce the risk of transmitting Zika virus through blood transfusion in areas where there are no active Zika virus outbreaks, the Food and Drug Administration recommends not donating blood for four weeks if you:

  • Have a history of Zika virus infection
  • Traveled or lived in an area with active Zika virus transmission
  • Have symptoms that are suggestive of Zika virus infection within two weeks of travel from an area with Zika virus
  • Have had sexual contact with a male partner who has been diagnosed with Zika virus infection
  • Have had sexual contact with a male partner who has traveled or lived in an area with active Zika virus transmission in the past three months
Aug. 23, 2017
References
  1. AskMayoExpert. Zika. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  2. Schuler-Faccini L, et al. Possible association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly – Brazil, 2015. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2016;65:59.
  3. Ayres CFJ. Identification of Zika virus vectors and implications for control. The Lancet. In press. Accessed Feb. 12, 2016.
  4. Zika virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html. Accessed Feb. 12, 2016.
  5. Recommendations for donor screening, deferral, and product management to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmission of Zika virus. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/Blood/UCM486360.pdf?elq_cid=1276914&x_id=&elqTrackId=3c05e939c7654e97b748609b4507885e&elq=e87e12610c974fa0a1191639391fedae&elqaid=49412&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=21484. Accessed Feb. 18, 2016.
  6. Rasmussen SA, et al. Zika virus and birth defects – Reviewing the evidence for causality. New England Journal of Medicine. http://www.nejm.org. Accessed April 15, 2016.