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Zika 101

What is Zika and How Does it Spread?

The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne infection that can be spread in one of the following ways:


How Zika Spreads 

The greatest risk from Zika is to a pregnant woman's baby. If a pregnant woman gets Zika, either by being bitten by an infected mosquito or by having unprotected sex, she can pass the virus to her developing baby, which can cause certain birth defects. Currently, there is no specific medicine or vaccine for Zika.

Learn more about Zika prevention and transmission
Learn more about mosquito bite prevention
Learn more about Zika and sex

Zika Symptoms

Most people with Zika don't get sick, and they may not even know they have it. Those who do get symptoms may have fever, rash, joint pain and/or red eyes

Once infected with Zika, you are likely to be protected from future infections.

Learn more about Zika symptoms 


How Californians Can Protect Themselves

Latino FamilyThere have been no reported cases of local transmission of Zika in California. It is possible for some types of mosquitoes in California to carry the Zika virus and infect people here (known as "local transmission"), but the risk of this happening is very low. Zika infections in California have mainly been reported in people who were infected while traveling in areas outside of California with ongoing Zika transmission.

Zika is still active in many parts of the world, including Mexico. You are at risk of getting Zika if you visit areas with Zika and are bitten by mosquitoes there or have unprotected sex with someone who is infected with Zika.  

If you are pregnant, do not go to areas with risk of Zika. People who travel or live in areas with Zika should protect themselves in the following ways:


Prevent mosquito bites by:
  • Wearing EPA-registered insect repellent, which is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women when used as directed.
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Staying/sleeping in screened-in and air-conditioned rooms while staying in areas with Zika.


Prevent sexual transmission by:
  • Practicing safer sex by using condoms (male or female) and dental dams every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex, OR do not have sex.
  • Waiting at least 6 months (for men) or waiting at least 8 weeks (for women) before planning pregnancy or having unprotected sex.
  • Staying/sleeping in screened-in and air-conditioned rooms while staying in areas with Zika.


Prevent mosquitoes by breeding and biting around your home by:
  • Dumping all standing water – even containers as small as a bottle cap.
  • Scrubbing flowerpots and animal water dishes.
  • Calling your local vector control agency if you notice many mosquitoes around your home.


Learn how you can help prevent the spread of Zika in California. Visit our Don't Bring Zika Home web page for more information you can download and share with others.

Learn more about areas with Zika 
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