The Zika Virus is caused primarily from the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. According to the World Health Organization, Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day, and it is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. Zika virus can also be transmitted sexually.
The World Health Organization also states that the amount of time from exposure to symptoms is likely to be a few days. The symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, muscle and joint pain, conjunctivitis, and headache. These symptoms usually last about 2-7 days.
Zika virus can be diagnosed through symptoms and knowledge of recent travel history to an area with active Zika virus transmission. A proper diagnosis can only be made through laboratory tests on blood or other bodily fluids such as urine, saliva, or semen.
The Zika virus requires no specific treatment due to the disease being mild. People infected with Zika are should get adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids, and treat paint and fever with common medicines. Should symptoms get worse, seeking medical attention is strongly advisable.
The key to preventing Zika virus is through protecting against mosquito bites. According to the World Health Organization, one can do this through wearing light colored clothes that cover as much of the body as possible, closing doors and windows, sleeping under mosquito nets, and using plenty of insect repellant.
The World Health Organization states that sexual transmission of Zika has been documented in several countries. In order to prevent sexual transmission, both people who live in areas where Zika virus occurs should practice safer sex or abstain from sexual intercourse. People who are returning from traveling in areas where Zika occurs should abstain from sexual intercourse for at least 8 weeks after their return, even if no symptoms occur.