- The zika virus (ZIKV) is found in a specific kind of mosquito, the Aedes aegypti, but any mosquito can pick it up and transmit it if it bites an infected person. It can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, birth and sex.
- One in five persons infected with ZIKV become ill, so many do not even know they are carrying the virus. (Yet, they can infect others, and it could affect a fetus.) ZIKV is often misdiagnosed as dengue, another tropical mosquito-borne illness with similar symptoms.
- Symptoms usually begin three to seven days after being bitten, and they are usually mild: low fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain and sometimes vomiting. Symptoms can last from two days to a week.
- Reports from Brazil have found a significant number of babies born with ZIKV to also have microcephaly, or unusually small heads due to incomplete brain development. The World Health Organisation, however, said that further studies need to be conducted.
- There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the zika virus. Doctors mainly concentrate on alleviating symptoms. People are advise to take extra precautions against mosquito bites.