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Disease Profile

Zika virus infection

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset

All ages





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Zika fever; Zika virus disease


Viral infections


Zika virus infection is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Zika virus can also be spread from a pregnant mother to her child and through sexual contact with an affected partner. Cases of Zika virus transmission via blood transfusion have also been reported.[1] Zika virus outbreaks are currently occurring in many countries.[2] The illness associated with Zika virus infection is usually mild, with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).[3] However, research has suggested an association between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) in a small percentage of cases.[4] Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause adverse pregnancy outcomes, including microcephaly and other serious brain defects. The full range of health problems associated with Zika virus infection during pregnancy is currently being studied. [1][5] No vaccine currently exists to prevent Zika virus infection, but there are still ways to protect oneself. The CDC recommends that pregnant women consider postponing travel to Zika-affected areas. People living in or traveling to areas where Zika virus is found should take steps to prevent mosquito bites. Those who have traveled to Zika-affected areas may wish to take steps to prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus.[6]


Making a diagnosis for a genetic or rare disease can often be challenging. Healthcare professionals typically look at a person’s medical history, symptoms, physical exam, and laboratory test results in order to make a diagnosis. The following resources provide information relating to diagnosis and testing for this condition. If you have questions about getting a diagnosis, you should contact a healthcare professional.

Testing Resources

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on diagnostic testing for Zika virus infection.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a feature which allows individuals to find their state health department


    There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus infections, nor is there a specific medicine to treat Zika.[7] Individuals infected with the Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and take medications such as acetaminophen for pain. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) should be avoided until dengue has been ruled out.[7][8]

    In pregnant women with evidence of Zika virus in the blood or amniotic fluid, serial ultrasounds should be considered to monitor fetal anatomy and growth every 3-4 weeks. Referral to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist or infectious disease specialist with expertise in pregnancy management is recommended.[9]

    Management Guidelines

    • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted interim guidelines for pregnant women during the Zika virus outbreak.
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted Interim Guidelines for Health Care Providers Caring for Pregnant Women and Women of Reproductive Age with Possible Zika Virus Exposure.


      Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

      Organizations Providing General Support

        Learn more

        These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

        Where to Start

        • You can obtain general information on this topic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is recognized as the lead federal agency for developing and applying disease prevention and control measures to improve the health of the people of the United States. The CDC has updated information and videos on the Zika virus.
        • The March of Dimes has information on Zika virus and pregnancy.
        • MotherToBaby is a service of the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), a leading authority on information regarding the safety of medications and other exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding. They can be reached directly by calling 1-866-626-6847.
        • The World Health Organization (WHO) produces guidelines and standards, helps countries to address public health issues, and supports and promotes health research. The WHO has developed a fact sheet on this condition.

          In-Depth Information

          • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.


            1. Transmission & Risks. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). March 3, 2016; https://www.cdc.gov/zika/transmission/index.html.
            2. Areas with Zika. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). February 9, 2016; https://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html.
            3. Zika Virus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Newsroom. April 13, 2016; https://www.cdc.gov/media/dpk/2016/dpk-zika-virus.html.
            4. Zika and Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). August 9, 2016; https://www.cdc.gov/zika/healtheffects/gbs-qa.html.
            5. Rasmussen, Sonja, et al.. Zika Virus and Birth Defects — Reviewing the Evidence for Causality. New England Journal of Medicine Special Report. April 13, 2016; https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMsr1604338. Accessed 4/13/2016.
            6. How to Protect Yourself. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). March 18, 2016; https://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/protect-yourself.html.
            7. Zika Virus: Symptoms & Treatment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). December 28, 2015; https://www.cdc.gov/zika/symptoms/index.html. Accessed 1/14/2016.
            8. Zika Virus For Health Care Providers: Clinical Evaluation & Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). June 1, 2015; https://www.cdc.gov/zika/hc-providers/clinicalevaluation.html. Accessed 1/14/2016.
            9. Interim Guidelines for Pregnant Women During a Zika Virus Outbreak — United States, 2016. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MMWR. January 19, 2016; Vol.65:https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/pdfs/mm6502e1er.pdf. Accessed 3/4/2016.

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