Zika fever is a mild febrile illness caused by a mosquito-borne virus similar to those that cause dengue and West Nile virus infection. It has been identified in several countries in Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean since 2015. Outbreaks have previously been reported in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Local transmission has also been reported in Puerto Rico. Cases of Zika fever have been reported in travelers returning to the United States.
There are no areas of ongoing, active transmission of Zika by mosquitoes in Florida. All previous Zika zones in the following areas of Miami-Dade County have been lifted after 45 days with no evidence of active transmission and no additional people infected. It is not uncommon, however, for there to be isolated incidents of locally acquired Zika.
The department continues to closely monitor the status of Zika virus in Florida and take action to keep Floridians, especially pregnant women, safe. If the department identifies any areas of concern, the public and the media will be notified.
The Florida Department of Health advises residents and visitors to Miami-Dade County to remain vigilant about mosquito bite protection by draining all sources of standing water to keep mosquitoes from breeding and by wearing bug repellent.
Only about 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus are symptomatic. Zika fever is a mild illness. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Signs and symptoms of Zika fever may include: acute onset of low-grade fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (reddening of eye), body aches, headache, eye pain, and vomiting. Treatment is symptomatic since there is no specific treatment against the virus. Illness typically resolves within a week.
The Ministry of Health of Brazil has reported an increase in the numbers of newborns with microcephaly in areas experiencing Zika virus outbreaks. Further studies are being conducted to investigate this concern. There are many causes of microcephaly in babies, including genetic abnormalities, environmental factors, and some infections acquired during pregnancy.
Zika fever is acquired through the bite of an infected mosquito, including the same mosquitoes that can transmit dengue and chikungunya. Perinatal and sexual transmission have also been reported.