Zika virus belongs to the flviviridae virus family, which include numerous viruses like the yellow fever virus, dengue virus, West Nile virus and hepatitis C virus. Mosquitos are the main transmitters of zika virus and the major type of the mosquito responsible for this is called the Aedes Aegypti. Zika virus can not be spread by food, air or water as it is mainly transmitted by an infected mosquito bite (aedes aegypti).

According to research, zika virus can be transmitted sexually (sexual contact). These includes, virginal, anal and oral sex. Also it can be transmitted through blood transfusion or blood to blood contact with infected persons.
This virus can also be transmitted through pregnancy as research have shown that it is possible for babies to contact zika virus during pregnancy. Zika virus has not been reported in any case to be transmitted through breastfeeding as the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the possible risk. Infants infected with zika virus during pregnancy may have serious birth defects such as abnormal small heads and poor brain development which is also known as microcephaly, hearing problem, vision problems and other physical deformities.

What are the Symptoms?

Zika virus infection comes with fever, rashes and weekness. However, only very few people will notice these symptoms  (about 30%). Some of these symptoms are very similar to dengue and chikungunya. These symptoms includes:
  • Fever
  • Pink rash and bumps (maculopapular rash)
  • Weekness
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Conjuctivity
  • Diarrhoea
These symptoms are very mild and may be resolved within a week without major treatment.


The diagnosis of zika virus is mainly through PCR  (polymerase chain reaction) and isolation of virus from the blood sample. It is always difficult to diagnose by serology. This is because the virus can cross-react with other flaviviruse such as West Nile, yellow fever and dengue.

What are possible treatments?

There is no specific medicine that cures zika virus. For best treatment it is advisable to see your doctor. Although the initial diagnose of zika virus is mainly based on history of possible exposure, the diagnosis is confirmed by running a full test on blood, urine or saliva.
This test can also be carried out on pregnant women.