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Zika virus infection
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Zika virus infection

Last update: 2022-06-07

Key facts

Transmission

  • Mosquito bite
  • Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus usually bite during the day, especially in early morning and late afternoon or evening
  • During pregnancy the disease can pass from a mother to her unborn baby
  • Unprotected sex

Symptoms

  • Many people infected with Zika virus have no symptoms or have only mild symptoms.
  • Mild fever, skin rash, red eyes, muscle and joint pain, headache or feeling unwell.
  • Getting Zika during pregnancy can cause serious brain defects in the unborn baby.
  • Zika may cause a severe illness called Guillain-Barré syndrome, which causes sudden muscle weakness and can sometimes be life-threatening.

Prevention

  • Prevention of mosquito bites by placing insect screens on windows and doors and personal protection (application of repellents, wearing long sleeved clothes, etc.)
  • Community clean-up campaigns to remove rubbish and garbage and cover water containers
  • Destruction of mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water, fogging, and applying larvicides
  • Social mobilization and behaviour change communication
  • Practice safe sex (applies to pregnant women, their partners, and travellers returning from areas in which Zika is present)
  • Reproductive health counselling and support for couples who plan to have children and who live in areas where Zika is endemic

Vulnerable people

  • Any person in the community can get Zika
  • Zika is a particular concern for pregnant women, women and girls of reproductive age, and couples who want children and who live in area where Zika is endemic
  • Getting Zika during pregnancy can cause serious brain defects in an unborn baby

If an epidemic occurs

  • Increase community-based surveillance
  • Rapidly detect serious cases and refer them to health facilities
  • Increase social mobilization and behaviour change communication
  • Promote community clean-up campaigns to remove rubbish and cover water containers
  • Promote prevention of mosquito bites by placing insect screens on windows and doors and wearing personal protection (apply repellents,
  • wear long sleeved clothes, etc.)
  • Give psychosocial support to mothers, families and babies born with brain defects
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water, fogging, and applying larvicides
  • Encourage young children and people who sleep during the day to sleep under a mosquito net (if windows and doors are not screened)
  • Encourage the practice of safe sex (especially applies to pregnant women, their partners, and travellers who return from areas in which Zika is present)
  • If possible, pregnant women should not travel to areas in which Zika is present

Community-based assessment - questions

Make a map of the community and mark the information you gather on the map. Record other details.

  • When did people start to fall sick with Zika? How many people have fallen sick with Zika? Where?
  • How many people have been severely ill with Guillain-Barré syndrome? How many have died? Where?
  • Have any children been born with brain or head defects? How many?
  • How many people live in the affected community or area? How many children under five years of age live in the area?
  • Who and where are the vulnerable people?
  • How many pregnant women live in the affected communities?
  • Do people usually cover their water containers (inside and outside)?
  • How many houses have insect screens on the windows and doors?
  • What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs regarding use of repellents, sprays, etc.?
  • How do people in the community usually dispose of rubbish and solid waste?
  • Have the authorities established a vector control programme?
  • Where are the local health facilities and services? (Include traditional and community carers.)
  • What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs about caring for and feeding sick people? When babies and infants are sick, do
  • women continue to breastfeed them?
  • Is a social mobilization or health promotion programme in place?
  • Which sources of information do people use most?
  • Are rumours or is misinformation about Zika disease spreading in the community?