Health Advisories

Zika Virus

Modes of Transmission


Zika virus, a flavivirus, is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The mosquito vectors typically breed in domestic water-holding containers; they are aggressive daytime biters and feed both indoors and outdoors near dwellings. Perinatal, in utero, transfusion and sexual transmission may also occur. Although not currently transmitted in the continental United States, infections have been diagnosed in travelers returning from endemic areas (see regularly updated map).

Clinical Signs & Symptoms


About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become symptomatic. Characteristic clinical findings are acute onset of fever with maculopapular rash, arthralgia, or conjunctivitis. Because of similar geographic distribution and symptoms, patients with suspected Zika virus infections also should be evaluated and managed for possible dengue or chikungunya virus infection

Diagnosis, Reporting, & Testing

Preliminary diagnosis is based on the patient’s clinical features, places and dates of travel, and activities. Laboratory diagnosis is generally accomplished by testing serum or plasma to detect virus, viral nucleic acid, or virus-specific immunoglobulin M and neutralizing antibodies. Testing should occur for Zika, dengue and chikungunya simultaneously through the state laboratory. In Texas, dengue and chikungunya testing are available at the state laboratory and Zika through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Report ALL suspected cases of Zika virus infection as soon as possible to your local health department in order to coordinate specimen submission to CDC through the state laboratory:

Bexar County Residents: consult with San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (SAMHD)-Epidemiology via phone call at (210) 207-8876.

Residents outside of Bexar County: consult with Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Health Service Region (HSR) 8 via phone call at (210) 949-2000 or (210) 949- 2121.

Criteria and Information needed for specimens to be tested:
Name
Date of Birth
Onset Date of symptoms
Collection Date
Travel history (location AND dates) – travel within 2 weeks of onset of symptoms
Symptoms
Flavivirus vaccination history (Japanese Encephalitis Virus, Yellow Fever Virus and Tick-borne Encephalitis)
Pregnant (If yes, provide gestational week)

Treatment

No specific antiviral treatment is available for Zika virus disease. Treatment is generally supportive and can include rest, fluids, and use of analgesics and antipyretics. Because of similar geographic distribution and symptoms, patients with suspected Zika virus infections also should be evaluated and managed for possible dengue or chikungunya virus infection. Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage. People infected with Zika, chikungunya, or dengue virus should avoid mosquito bites. Furthermore, since it is not yet known if people with Zika who do not have symptoms can transmit the virus to Texas mosquitoes, all travelers returning to Texas from areas affected by Zika avoid mosquito bites for one week following return from travel.

Click here for more information from the Texas Department of State Health Services

Click here for more information on the Zika virus