Health Topics

Health Topics

CHI Memorial is pleased to share information about popular health topics.

What is the Zika Virus?

Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika outbreaks have probably occurred in many locations. Before 2007, at least 14 cases of Zika had been documented, although other cases were likely to have occurred and were not reported. Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases may not have been recognized.

What are the symptoms of Zika?
Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache

Symptoms can last for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. Once a person has been infected with Zika, they are likely to be protected from future infections. 

How is it spread?

  • Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected species of mosquito. 
  • Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.
  • There have been cases of Zika spread by sexual contact.
  • There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

How does my doctor know if I have Zika?
Health care providers will assess symptoms and your travel history for possible exposure risks. There are blood and urine tests that can be done if you are determined to be at risk for Zika.

How can I protect myself and my family?

  • Use mosquito repellant and keep arms and legs covered. 
  • Plan for travel- check affected areas and avoid traveling where Zika is widespread.
  • Avoid sexual contact with someone who has a confirmed case of the Zika Virus.
  • Use water treatment tabs to kill larvae in standing water around your house. Standing water attracts mosquitos.


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