Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These mosquitoes bite during the day and night.
- Prevent Zika by avoiding mosquito bites.
- Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.
- Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners. Condoms can reduce the chance of getting Zika from sex. Condoms include male and female condoms.
- No vaccine exists to prevent Zika.
- In 2018, no local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in the continental United States.
- The mosquitoes that can spread Zika are found throughout the United States.
Microcephaly is a birth defect in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly. Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly. During pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth. Babies with microcephaly can have a range of other problems, depending on how severe their microcephaly is. Microcephaly has been linked with the following problems:
- Developmental delays, such as problems with speech or other developmental milestones (like sitting, standing, and walking)
- Intellectual disability (decreased ability to learn and function in daily life)
- Problems with movement and balance
- Feeding problems, such as difficulty swallowing
- Hearing loss
- Vision problems
These problems can range from mild to severe and are often lifelong. Because the baby’s brain is small and underdeveloped, babies with severe microcephaly can have more of these problems, or have more difficulty with them, than babies with milder microcephaly. Severe microcephaly also can be life-threatening. Because it is difficult to predict at birth what problems a baby will have from microcephaly, babies with microcephaly often need close follow-up through regular check-ups with a health care provider to monitor their growth and development. Credit: CDC, 21 November 2017.
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