DPH: Zika Virus

Zika Virus

{Aedes aegypti mosquito feeding}

 Zika virus disease is caused by Zika virus and spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. According to staff of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, this mosquito species is not present in Connecticut and a closely related species Ae. albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito, and related species are not likely to spread the disease in Connecticut. 


The Ae. aegypti, also common known as the Yellow fever mosquito, is found throughout tropical regions of the world and are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. Mosquitoes become infected with the Zika virus when they bite a person already infected with the virus.  Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.


Symptoms include: fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week; deaths are rare. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika virus infection; however there is medication to treat some of the symptoms. Contact your health care provider if you develop symptoms after returning from areas where Zika virus has been identified. Zika virus can spread from a pregnant women to her fetus, which can cause birth defects. Because of this, pregnant women should not travel to areas with Zika. Zika virus can also be spread from men to women by sexual contact.
Avoid infection by preventing mosquito bites. Use insect repellent according to label instructions, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, empty any items around your property that can hold water, and use air conditioning or window/door screens. It is important to practice these protective measures when traveling to areas where Zika virus is found.


Testing is available from the State Public Health Laboratory (PHL), and under certain circumstances the CDC. Staff of the Epidemiology and Emerging Infections Program will review forms submitted by healthcare providers to determine testing needs. If the patient meets the testing criteria, a specimen will be submitted to the PHL using the appropriate forms and method. The PHL will complete the appropriate forms should the specimen need to be sent to the CDC. At the present time, there are no commercially available diagnostic tests for Zika virus.

The DPH has published a Zika Virus Surveillance and Response Plan, 2016, that outlines the history of Zika virus, and the State's role in mosquito management, surveillance activities for human cases and mosquitoes, and prevention activities.

Please click here for the most up to date Zika virus testing guidelines.

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Content Last Modified on 5/26/2016 5:37:00 PM