Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus transmitted primarily by Aedes aegyti mosquitoes. Aedes aegyti mosquitoes are not endemic to Illinois.
Zika virus infection should be considered in patients with acute onset of fever, maculopapular rash, arthralgia or conjunctivitis, who traveled to areas with ongoing transmission in the two weeks prior to illness onset. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Because of possible associations with poor pregnany outcomes, until more is known, the CDC recommends that pregnant women in any trimester and women trying to become pregnant consider postpoining travel to areas with active Zika transmission.
Outbreaks of Zika have occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas. Currently, active tranmissions is occuring in parts of Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Because the Aedes species mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world, it is likely that outbreaks will spread to new countries; see www.cdc.gov/zika for updated travel information. In December 2015, Puerto Rico reported its first confirmed Zika virus case. Spread of the virus through blood transfusion and sexual contact has been reported.
There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Travelers can protect themselves from this disease by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites. When traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses spread by mosquitoes have been reported, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.
If you have questions about Zika, please contact the Chicago Department of Public Health by contacting the Communicable Disease Physician on-call by calling 311 (or 312-744-5000 if outside the City of Chicago).