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Zika Virus in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What is Zika virus?

Zika virus is carried by mosquitos. Your child may be infected with Zika virus through the bite of an infected mosquito. You may pass Zika virus to your child during your pregnancy. If your child is infected with Zika virus during your pregnancy, he or she may be born with birth defects such as microcephaly. Microcephaly causes your child to have a head and brain that is smaller than normal. Microcephaly also causes learning and development problems.

What increases my child's risk for Zika virus?

Your child may be at risk for Zika virus infection if he or she travels or lives in an area with infected mosquitos. Mosquitoes are usually found near water. Examples include ponds, buckets of water, animal dishes, and flower pots. Infected mosquitoes bite most often during the day.

What are the signs and symptoms of Zika virus?

Your child may not have signs or symptoms of Zika virus. If your child develops signs or symptoms, they may happen suddenly and last for 2 to 7 days. Your child may have any of the following:

Zika Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

How is Zika virus infection diagnosed?

How is Zika virus treated?

There is no treatment for Zika virus. Your child may be monitored in the hospital. Medicine may be given to manage your child's symptoms. This may include medicine to decrease pain and fever.

What are the risks of Zika virus?

Zika virus may cause temporary or permanent weakness or paralysis. Rarely, Zika virus may become life-threatening.

What can I do to manage my child's symptoms?

What can I do to prevent Zika virus infection?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection. Do not travel or bring your child to areas where Zika virus is common. Ask your child's healthcare provider where it is safe to travel. Prevent mosquito bites to help decrease your child's risk for infection:

Zika Sources and Prevention

Where can I get the most up-to-date information on Zika virus?

Knowledge about Zika virus is changing quickly. Get the most up-to-date information at:

Where can I get information and support if my baby was born with microcephaly?

Caring for a baby born with microcephaly can be difficult. You may need help and support to care for your baby. Your baby's growth and development will need to be closely monitored. For more information and support:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.