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Zika virus is a mosquito-borne viral infection transmitted by Aedes species mosquitoes. Infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Even though Zika primarily spreads through infected mosquitoes, Zika can also be transmitted through sex without a condom with someone infected by Zika.
It is not known how likely it is that Zika infection will affect a pregnancy. However, transmission of Zika from a pregnant woman to her fetus is possible during all trimesters of a pregnancy, and prevention methods should always be taken.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Zika virus infection in a woman who is not pregnant would not pose a risk for birth defects in future pregnancy after the virus has cleared from her blood.
Impact in Hawaii
If you want to know the current status of Arboviral disease cases you can visit our Mosquito-Transmitted Diseases webpage.
What Can I Do?
Traveling to Hawaii?
- At this time, pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant should not be concerned about getting Zika virus in Hawaii.
- Even though the mosquitoes known to transmit Zika virus (i.e., A.aegypti; A. albopictus) exist in Hawaii, Zika virus is not endemic to the state. The risk for Zika infection for travelers to Hawaii is low. Those at the highest risk of contracting Zika virus are people who travel to areas where Zika virus is being actively transmitted or have had sex with someone who has been infected with Zika or has traveled to an area with Zika.
- If you want to know the current status of Arboviral disease cases you can visit our Mosquito-Transmitted Diseases webpage.
Traveling from Hawaii to a Zika endemic area?
- Pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant should take precautions to avoid Zika virus infection. Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and infection with Zika during pregnancy can cause severe fetal brain defects, and microcephaly which is a birth defect in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age.
- Remember that your travel history and the travel history of your sexual partner (s) can affect your chances of getting Zika. If you are a pregnant woman, you can protect yourself and your baby by following special precautions:
- Do not travel to areas with risk of Zika. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website to verify if your planned destination is an area with risk of Zika.
- If you must travel to an area with risk of Zika, talk to your healthcare provider first and follow steps to prevent Zika infection:
- Use insect repellent and wear protective clothing (long sleeves; long pants). Insect repellent should include higher percentages of the one of the following active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE).
- Use condoms every time you have sex (oral, vaginal, or anal).
- After travel to an area with Zika, talk with your healthcare provider. If you develop Zika symptoms talk to your doctor immediately and tell him or her about your travel.
- Take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks after returning.
- If your partner also traveled to an area with risk of Zika, use condoms every time you have sex for at least 3 months after travel, or abstain from sex for at least 3 months after travel.
For more information on Zika Virus symptoms and diagnosis, please consult our Zika Virus Disease Listing page.