Zika Virus Disease is caused by a flavivirus that spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth, and possibly through sexual contact. Zika Virus Disease is usually mild and short-term, with the most common symptoms being fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). 4 out of 5 of those infected do not experience noticeable symptoms, and very few become sick enough to go to the hospital. Very rare cases may result in Guillain-Barre syndrome or other serious outcomes.
There have been recent reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly (a condition in which a baby’s head and brain are significantly smaller than typical) and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus early in pregnancy.