zika virus - MASTA Travel Health | For All Your Vaccination advice

Zika virus

Zika is an infection caused by a virus. The illness is usually mild and does not last long. Zika is known to affect brain development in babies whose mothers had the infection during pregnancy, with many cases being reported in Brazil. These babies have been born with microcephaly – they have small heads with brains that have not developed as they should.
  • Symptoms Rash, fever, eye infections, muscle and joint pains. Most people will have no symptoms at all.
  • How do you catch zika virus? Zika virus is spread by a daytime-biting mosquito.
  • Incubation period 3 – 12 days
  • Diagnosis Diagnosis is confirmed by blood tests.


Zika can be prevented by taking steps to avoid mosquito bites - by wearing loose-fitting clothing and using an effective insect repellent. It is known that Zika virus can be spread through sex, especially from male partners. Precautions should be taken by both men and women whilst in high risk areas and for a period of time afterwards, as advised by a travel health nurse.


There is no specific treatment for Zika infection apart from rest, drinking plenty of fluids and taking medication for fever or pain.

  • Severe cases of Zika virus infection are uncommon
  • Zika virus is spread by the same mosquito that spreads dengue fever and chikungunya, which have similar symptoms
  • • More detailed information regarding individual country specific risk can be found here
Back to Disease Directory