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Zika Virus (ZIKV)

Zika Virus (ZIKV)— Facts and Treatment Options

Zika virus (ZIKV) is classified within the family of viruses known as Flaviviridae. The virus goes by several names: Zika fever or Zika virus disease. The name originates from Uganda, the country in East Africa where the virus was initially isolated nearly 70 years ago. ZIKV is comparatively similar to other known viruses such as West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis, dengue, and yellow fever. While it has been seen in Africa and Asia for quite some time, it only made its way to North and South America around 2007 making it a relatively new virus for doctors in these continents to contend with.

Zika Virus Effects

Zika virus may not cause symptoms in those who carry it, or perhaps symptoms could be mild. Mild versions of the virus are often similar to other fever-based infections. While Zika is known to spread from pregnant mothers to their babies, anyone who may be pregnant should take great care and consult with their doctor if they think they may have been exposed or are exhibiting symptoms of the virus. In rare cases the infection can bring about Guillain–Barré syndrome.

How Is Zika Virus Spread?

Mosquitoes can spread the virus. When a mosquito bites into a person infected with Zika, the mosquito can then pass it along to others who receive a bite. Zika can also spread via sexual contact and through the aforementioned mother to fetus pathway. Zika virus may be present in semen, urine, blood, eye fluids, and saliva of the infected.


Currently there is not one specific treatment advocated for Zika virus, but rather multiple recommendations for patients. Some of the most common doctor recommended advisements are listed below.

  • Prevent dehydration by drinking lots of fluids.
  • Make sure to get plenty of rest.
  • Take Tylenol to reduce fever and/or pain.
  • Never take aspirin or any other NSAIDS unless your doctor is certain you are not sick with dengue.

IMPORTANT WARNING: Do not take any other medications while you are recovering from Zika virus unless you have consulted with your doctor and he or she has approved you to take them.

  • "It is rare to find health professionals who are so willing to educate the patient on what they need to know."

    Clair C. | West Hollywood, CA