Zika fever, also known as Zika virus disease or simply Zika, is an infectious disease caused by the Zika virus. Most cases have no symptoms, but when present they are usually mild and can resemble dengue fever. Symptoms may include fever, red eyes, joint pain, headache, and a maculopapular rash. Symptoms generally last less than seven days. It has not caused any reported deaths during the initial infection. Mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other brain malformations in some babies. Infections in adults have been linked to Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS).
Zika fever is mainly spread via the bite of mosquitoes of the Aedes type. It can also be sexually transmitted and potentially spread by blood transfusions. Infections in pregnant women can spread to the baby. Diagnosis is by testing the blood, urine, or saliva for the presence of the virus's RNA when the person is sick, or the blood for antibodies after symptoms are presently more than a week.
Prevention involves decreasing mosquito bites in areas where the disease occurs and proper use of condoms. Efforts to prevent bites include the use of insect repellent, covering much of the body with clothing, mosquito nets, and getting rid of standing water where mosquitoes reproduce. There is no effective vaccine. Health officials recommended that women in areas affected by the 2015–16 Zika outbreak consider putting off pregnancy and that pregnant women do not travel to these areas. While there is no specific treatment, paracetamol (acetaminophen) may help with the symptoms. Admission to the hospital is rarely necessary.