Zika Virus Disease (Zika)
Zika is a disease caused by the Zika virus. It is spread to people most often through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Zika illness is usually mild. About 4 out of 5 people who get Zika won’t even know they have it. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. However, Zika can cause birth defects in unborn children whose mothers get the disease.
Most cases of Zika in the United States have been reported in travelers returning to the U.S. from affected areas. However, local transmission by mosquitoes has been reported in limited areas of Florida and Texas. See below for “Zika Smart” travel information.
Zika and Travel
If you are planning to travel, be Zika Smart!
For travel in North America:
If you are traveling to an area where Zika, follow this CDC guidance to prevent mosquito bites. If you are pregnant, consider changing or cancelling travel plans. If you are pregnant or can get pregnant and your partner travels to an area where Zika is spreading, see the Zika and Sexual Transmission section below.
For spring break travel tips, that also apply to travel any time:
Zika in Maryland
No Zika transmission has been identified in Maryland at this time. Zika virus has been detected in Maryland residents who traveled to countries with ongoing Zika transmission.
For Maryland Zika updates, visit the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Zika page: http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/pages/zika.aspx
Zika in the United States and U.S. Territories
As of December, 2016, “locally acquired” cases of Zika, meaning cases transmitted by mosquitoes in the area, were confirmed in Florida and Texas. There have been “travel associated” cases in all U.S. states.
There have been locally acquired cases in U.S. territories Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.
See a current list and map of Zika cases in the United States.
We do not know how much Zika virus will spread in the continental United States. Many areas in the United States have the type of mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread Zika virus. However, recent outbreaks of other mosquito-borne illness in the continental United States suggest that Zika outbreaks may be relatively small and limited in area.
Zika and Pregnancy
Zika virus can pass from a mother to the fetus during pregnancy. Infection with Zika during pregnancy has been linked to birth defects in babies.
Pregnant women who have recently traveled to an area with Zika should talk to a healthcare provider about their travel even if they don’t feel sick.
Women who are pregnant should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika is spreading.
A woman who is thinking about getting pregnant and has recently traveled to an area where Zika is spreading should talk to her healthcare provider. She should also talk to her healthcare provider if her male sexual partner recently traveled to an area with Zika. The CDC recommends that pregnant women whose partners have traveled to an area with active Zika transmission abstain from sexual activity, or use a condom the right way every time.
For more information, see these links from the CDC:
For current Zika testing guidelines, call the Carroll County Health Department at 410-876-4900.
US Zika Pregnancy Registry
To learn more about Zika virus infection, the CDC has created the US Zika Pregnancy Registry. The information collected through this registry will be used to help prevent Zika infections, assist pregnant women and their families who are affected by Zika, and make recommendations to health care providers caring for pregnant women.
The registry is free, and information will be kept private.
Zika and Sexual Transmission
Zika virus can be spread during sex by a man or woman infected with Zika. People whose partners live in or have traveled to an area with Zika transmission need to be concerned about getting Zika from sex.
Because Zika can cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects, women who are expecting a baby or who might get pregnant should take steps to prevent Zika infection. See the link below for specific guidelines.
If you travel to an area with Zika or are diagnosed with Zika, protect others from getting sick
During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people, even if you don’t know you are sick.
Take extra care to Prevent Mosquito Bites for at least 3 weeks after you traveled.
Also take care to Prevent Sexual Transmission
Zika Information for Health Care Providers
Find updated information for Maryland healthcare providers, including clinician letters, on the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Zika page.
Zika and Mosquito Control
Though there have been no cases of Zika transmitted by mosquitoes in Maryland, it is still a good idea to control mosquitoes and mosquito bites. Mosquitoes in Maryland can carry other diseases, such as West Nile. Use the tips below to protect yourself from bites, and control mosquitoes on your property.
For more information on local mosquito control efforts, call the Carroll County Health Department’s Bureau of Environmental Health at 410-876-1884.
If you want to learn more, watch these short videos on Zika, including two short Sesame Street videos for kids.
Don’t Get Bitten! Avoid Breeding Mosquitoes in Your Backyard (MD Dept. of Agriculture)
Elmo and Raya Learn About Zika (Sesame Street International Social Impact)
Elmo and Raya Learn How to Prevent Mosquito Bites (Sesame Street International Social Impact)
Click on the files below for printable pdf resources developed by the Carroll County Health Department, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention materials.