If you believe you may have been exposed to the Zika virus, it’s important to be aware of potential risks and watch out for signs of infection.
Only about one in five people who are infected with Zika virus have any symptoms, and if they do, the symptoms usually start within a week. The symptoms are typically mild and last for a few days or up to a week.
People who become ill with Zika infection may have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Slight fever
- Skin rash
- Joint aches and pain
- Red, scratchy eyes (conjunctivitis)
Severe Zika virus disease
Although rare, severe neurologic complications can also occur:
- Guillian-Barre Syndrome (a type of paralysis)
Pregnant women who have traveled to areas with active Zika transmission or have another possible exposure (e.g., unprotected sex with a traveler) should be screened and tested for Zika infection, even if they do not have symptoms.
For anyone who develops Zika symptoms (fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes) during or within two weeks of travel, or within two weeks of another risk exposure, testing should be performed even if symptoms have resolved.
If you have questions about testing for Zika, contact the Health Department at (215) 685-6742 during business hours.
Currently, there is no medication to treat Zika. Treatment consists of supportive care, such as rest, drinking fluids, and medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to reduce fever and pain.
If you have Zika, prevent yourself from being bitten by mosquitoes for the first week of your illness. This will help prevent spread of infection to others.
Once a person has recovered from Zika, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections. However, there is no vaccine to prevent infection with Zika at the present time.