Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). The Aedes mosquito isn’t commonly found in the Midwest, where we see more than our fair share of the Culex mosquito.
The Kane County Health Department has added a Zika page to its website and invites Kane County residents to visit the page often to learn the latest and most-local information. The Health Department also conducts a multi-faceted mosquito surveillance program that tests weekly for West Nile virus. The 2016 reporting will begin in June.
Technically, the illness is described as a single-stranded RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus, closely related to dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and West Nile viruses.
There is no vaccine against Zika virus. Severe illnesses due to Zika are rare, but the CDC has confirmed it has caused increased incidence of microcephaly in South America. As a result, pregnant women are advised not to travel to Zika affected countries.
People can get Zika through sex with someone infected with Zika, and the virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus. People can protect themselves from mosquito bites and from getting Zika through sex.
This fact sheet explains who’s most affected and why, symptoms and treatment, and how to protect against Zika.
SOURCES: CDC, Kane County Health Department website