Your doctor will likely ask about your medical and travel history. Be sure to describe international trips in detail, including the countries you and your sexual partner have visited and the dates, as well as any contact you may have had with mosquitoes.
Talk to your doctor about which tests for the Zika virus — or similar diseases such as dengue or chikungunya viruses, which are spread by the same type of mosquitoes — are available in your area. Your doctor may do a blood or urine test to diagnose the Zika virus.
If you are pregnant with no symptoms of Zika virus infection with a history of recent travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission can be offered testing two to 12 weeks after her return.
Following positive, inconclusive or negative test results, care providers may:
- Perform an ultrasound to detect microcephaly or other abnormalities of the brain
- Offer to take a sample of amniotic fluid using a hollow needle inserted into the uterus (amniocentesis) to screen for Zika virus
No specific antiviral treatment for the Zika virus exists. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms with rest, fluids and medications — such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) — to relieve joint pain and fever.
No vaccine exists to prevent the Zika virus. But several vaccines are currently in clinical trials.
Preparing for your appointment
You'll likely start by seeing your primary care provider. But you also might be referred to a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases or travel medicine.
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot to discuss, it's a good idea to be well-prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information. List your international travel history, with dates and countries visited and medications taken while traveling. Bring a record of your immunizations, including pre-travel vaccinations.
- Make a list of all your medications. Include any vitamins or supplements you take regularly.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out.
For Zika virus disease, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What treatments are available?
- How long will it be before I'm feeling better?
- Are there any long-term effects of this illness?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Be prepared to answer questions from your doctor, such as:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Are you pregnant or trying to become pregnant? Do you use condoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything seem to make your symptoms better or worse?
- Where have you traveled in the past month?
- Were you bitten by mosquitoes while traveling?
- Have you been in contact recently with anyone who was ill?