Zika Virus: Guidance For Wisconsin Residents
Information is current as of October 2016. For the most current information about Zika from the federal government, please refer to www.cdc.gov/zika.
Facts about Zika Virus
How is Zika spread?
- Zika is mostly spread by being bitten by an infected mosquito. A mosquito infected with Zika can continue biting people over its lifespan, which is approximately 30 days.
- Zika can also be spread by sexual transmission, even in the absence of symptoms.
- Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
What can Zika cause?
- Infection with Zika during pregnancy can cause birth defects. Microcephaly, which is an abnormally small head, is one of these defects.
- Researchers are working to learn more about how Zika affects mothers and their children.
Symptoms of Zika Virus
Most people with Zika won't know they have Zika because they have no symptoms: Four out of five people who are infected have no symptoms. When infected people do have symptoms, the most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.
Watch a Webinar About Zika Virus
Dr. Katie Antony, UW Health maternal-fetal medicine specialist, provides insights into the origins of Zika virus, where outbreaks are occurring, how it affects pregnancy and unborn children and what men and women should do to protect themselves.
Could Zika virus come to Wisconsin?
- Zika is mostly spread by Aedes aegypti, a type of mosquito. This mosquito is not found in Wisconsin.
- Zika can also be spread by Aedes albopictus, another type of mosquito that is less likely to spread Zika than Aedes aegypti. This type of mosquito is suspected to be found in parts of southern Wisconsin. There are not necessarily mosquitoes infected with Zika in Wisconsin, however.
- Travel to a Zika affected area is the main way Wisconsin residents are at risk.
What Pregnant Couples in Wisconsin Should Know
We don't know when during pregnancy Zika might cause harm to the fetus or how likely it is that Zika infection could affect your pregnancy. Because of this, it is recommended that:
- Pregnant women should not travel to areas where Zika virus is spreading. Current list of countries with active Zika cases
- If travel is necessary, talk with your healthcare provider first and strictly avoid mosquito bites by using an EPA-approved mosquito repellent such as DEET, picardin or IR3535. When used as directed, mosquito repellents are safe during pregnancy.
- If the male partner of a pregnant woman travels to an area with Zika, following his return, they should use condoms the correct way every time they have sex (vaginal, oral or anal) or not have sex for the remainder of the pregnancy.
What Couples Who Are Thinking About Getting Pregnant in Wisconsin Should Know
Following travel to an area where Zika virus is spreading:
- Women with Zika symptoms should wait 8 weeks after the time of symptom onset before attempting pregnancy
- Women without Zika symptoms should wait 8 weeks after the last day of travel before attempting pregnancy
- Men with Zika symptoms should wait 6 months after the time of symptoms onset before attempting pregnancy
- Men without Zika symptoms should wait 6 months after the last day of travel before attempting pregnancy
For information about fertility preservation including freezing sperm (before travel) for future use, contact Generations Fertility Care clinic at (608) 824-6160.