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Zika Virus: What You Should Know

Zika in the United States and Missouri

At this time, no Zika cases have been spread by mosquitoes in Missouri. All of the cases reported in Missouri were linked to travel to tropical areas. Florida health officials have reported some cases caused by infected mosquitoes. 

What are the symptoms of Zika, and how is it treated?

Most people affected by Zika won't even have symptoms, and the illness usually is mild. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. Muscle pain and headache may accompany the other symptoms. Medicine to treat Zika does not exist, but acetaminophen may help reduce pain and fever.

For more information, visit Zika Symptoms on the CDC website.

Why is Zika a concern for pregnant women?

Zika is linked to birth defects. Expectant mothers who have the virus during pregnancy might be more likely to have a child with microcephaly, a birth defect that can prevent a baby’s brain and head from developing properly. The link between Zika and microcephaly has not been confirmed; however, the relationship currently is being investigated.

"Zika is not something to worry about but something to pay attention to."

How is Zika spread?

Zika primarily spreads through the bite of an infected mosquito. Men infected with the virus can spread it to their partner during sex.

Many areas of United States, including Missouri, are home to the type of mosquito that can spread the Zika virus. These mosquitoes belong to the Aedes species of mosquito and are aggressive daytime biters, although they also can bite at night.

See the map below for the areas where these mosquitoes are present. At this time, no Zika cases have been spread by mosquitoes in Missouri.

Estimated range of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus in the United States, 2016 Maps
SOURCE: Zika: Vector Surveillance and Control

How can I prevent the spread of Zika?

The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Use insect repellent. Look for a repellent that contains Deet, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or paramenthane-diol as active ingredients.
  • Wear protective clothes, such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Mosquito-proof your home. Use screens on windows and doors and use air conditioning when available.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites.SOURCE: Zika: Protect Yourself From Mosquito Bites

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Zika Information

Call: (573) 771-ZIKA (9452)


What Our Experts Say

Christelle Ilboudo, MD

"For women who are pregnant or considering getting pregnant, it is recommended to not travel" to areas where Zika virus is being transmitted, Christelle Ilboudo, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist with University of Missouri Health Care, told Radio Friends with Paul Pepper. "If they are planning on traveling, it is recommended to use preventions that they would typically use for mosquitoes."

Daniel Jackson, MD

"What it looks like is that Zika virus has the potential to cause microcephaly, but we don't know with what frequency or with what prognosis," University of Missouri Health Care Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist Daniel Jackson, MD, told the Columbia Missourian. "[Zika] is not something to worry about but something to pay attention to."

Our Experts in the News

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