The Flaviviridae are a family of positive, single-stranded, enveloped RNA viruses. They are found in arthropods, (primarily ticks and mosquitoes), and can occasionally infect humans. Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, such as A. aegypti. Other mosquito-transmitted viruses include Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile viruse.
The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another person through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people. To help prevent others from getting sick, avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness.
See your health care provider if you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes within 2 weeks after traveling to a country where Zika virus cases have been reported as Zika might be responsible for birth defects such as microcephaly - a condition when babies are born with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains. In January 2016, CDC on Friday advised pregnant women avoid travel to a number of countries and territories around the world, primarily in the Americas: Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, St. Martin, Suriname, Samoa, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.