As Zika virus is reported in new areas, it is important for international travelers to be aware and know how to protect themselves. Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, and sexual transmission from a male partner is also possible. CDC has tips for travelers to protect themselves from Zika.
Many people infected with Zika virus do not get sick. Among those who do get sick, the illness is usually mild, with symptoms that last for several days to a week. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects, so CDC recommends special travel precautions for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
In rare cases, Zika virus has been known to cause Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a disorder that can cause muscle weakness, and sometimes, paralysis for a few weeks to several months. GBS is likely triggered by Zika virus in a small proportion of infections, much as it is after a variety of other infections. Most people fully recover from GBS, but some have permanent damage.
Check CDC’s website frequently (including before your trip) for the most up-to-date information.