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Zika Facts for Oregonians

10 things Oregonians should know about Zika

  1. Zika is a virus usually spread by mosquitoes. Zika can also spread through sexual activity with an infected person, even if that person shows no sign of illness.

  2. We know of only two types of mosquitoes that spread Zika. Those mosquitoes have not been found in Oregon. We do not know if Oregon’s mosquitoes could spread Zika if it were introduced to our mosquito population. Mosquitoes are being watched closely and control efforts have begun.

  3. Most people who have Zika do not show signs of illness. Those who do show signs of Zika may have a rash, fever, joint pain and redness of the eyes. Zika symptoms are usually mild. Serious illness that creates a need for hospital care is uncommon.

  4. Zika can cause birth defects when pregnant women are infected. Birth defects include microcephaly, which is when a baby’s head is smaller than usual and the brain is not fully developed.

  5. Zika may also be linked to Guillain-Barré Syndrome, but further research is needed. Guillain-Barré Syndrome can cause muscles to be weak and sometimes leads to paralysis.

  6. There is no way to treat Zika. There is also no vaccine for Zika, though research is underway.

  7. We know three ways to prevent the spread of Zika:

     If you need low or no cost reproductive and birth control services: CALL 211

    • Protect your skin from mosquito bites during travel to areas with Zika and for three weeks after.
    • Avoid unprotected sexual activities with people who could have Zika.
    • Get rid of standing water and places mosquitoes live.

  8. Some cases of Zika have been found in Oregon in recent years; all were linked to travel to areas where Zika was being spread.

  9. The Oregon Health Authority is working with local health departments and Oregon health care providers to find and test people who should have a Zika test.

  10. The Oregon State Public Health Laboratory can test those people who meet public health testing criteria.

  11. The CDC recommends:

    • Pregnant women not travel to areas where Zika is being spread.
    • Women and men coming back from an area with Zika should delay pregnancy to reduce the risks of Zika.
    • Those coming from an area with Zika should avoid sex or use a condom during any sexual activity with their pregnant partner. Use of other barrier methods, like dental dams or latex sheets, is recommended even though more research is needed to determine how much protection they may provide.

Resources from the CDC


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