Information about Zika

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting up to a week, and many people do not have symptoms or will have only mild symptoms. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe brain defects.Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle pain and headache. Zika is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. Symptoms of Zika are similar to other viruses spread through mosquito bites. West Nile Virus is a much more likely virus for New Yorkers to be infected with. Mosquito to person transmission has not yet occurred in New York State, however person to person sexual transmission has occurred in New York.  For workplace settings, OSHA and PESH are treating Zika as a bloodborne pathogen and that standard applies to working around people infected with the Zika virus.  For more information on how your employer should protect you from the potential threat of Zika virus and for personal precautions that can be taken when traveling visit the following websites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC Outdoor Worker Factsheet

A close up of a mosquito