History of Zika

Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika outbreaks have probably occurred in many locations. Before 2007, at least 14 cases of Zika had been documented, although other cases were likely to have occurred and were not reported. Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases may not have been recognized (CDC, 2016).

Diagnosis and Treatment

The Zika disease is caused by the Zika virus (ZIKV), an arbovirus of the falavivirus genus. It is transmitted by the bite of Aedes mosquitoes. After the mosquito bite, the disease symptoms usually appear after an incubation period of three to 12 days. The infected individual may present with fever and non-purulent conjunctivitis, headache, myalgia, arthralgia, asthenia, maculopapular rash, edema in lower limbs, and less frequently, retro-orbital pain, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain OR may be asymptomatic. Symptoms may last from 4-7 days and are self-limiting. Neurological and autoimmune complications are rare. There is no specific antiviral treatment or an effective vaccine for this disease. Symptomatic and supportive treatment for the acute phase is recommended and early diagnosis of atypical and severe forms is warranted.

“Technical guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the Zika virus infection.” Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26960050

Tracking and Notification

The CDC maintains enhanced surveillance of women who have possible or confirmed Zika infection during pregnancy and their babies for the first year of life.

Zika is a nationally notifiable disease. State and territorial health departments are encouraged to report laboratory-confirmed cases to CDC through ArboNET, the national surveillance system for arboviral diseases. Healthcare providers should report cases to their local, state or territorial health department according to the laws or regulations for reportable diseases in their jurisdiction (CDC, 2016).

Population-Based Teaching

Non-essential travel should be discouraged to areas where the incidence of the Zika virus is increasing or already prevalent. If travel is necessary to those areas, large-scale Public Service Announcements must be made with simple instructions (6th-grade reading level).


Try out the interactive toolkit. The toolkit can be remixed through thinglink so that it meets your needs. To make it easy for people that want to remix here is the link to the google doc for the Zika toolkit with all the links.

Resources and References

Multistakeholder Input on a National Priority: Improving Population Health by Working with Communities— Action Guide 1.0

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (October 3, 2016). Zika virus: Women trying to become pregnant. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/women-and-their-partners.html

CDC Health Media Library
Zika Virus Microsite

Zika Virus: Microcephaly and Other Birth Defects

Detailed Zika testing guidance http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/pdfs/mm6529e1.pdf

Sexual transmission guidance

Click to access mm6529e2.pdf

Zika Travel Information

Information for Healthcare Providers

By: Joanne Langan and Roberta Lavin

For more information contact Roberta Lavin lavinr@umsl.edu

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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