Mississippi State Department of Health

Zika virus infects people through the bite of a mosquito and can cause fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. Zika infection can cause serious or fatal birth defects in the children of pregnant women, and the virus can be transmitted sexually. Travel-related cases of Zika virus infection were confirmed in Mississippi in 2016-2017, but there have been no confirmed cases in 2019. No locally-transmitted cases have been reported in the state.



Zika virus is spread to people through the bite of infected mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other commonly reported symptoms include muscle pains and headaches. Eighty percent of cases display either no symptoms, or mild symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. The major risk is to the unborn children of pregnant women, who can suffer severe or fatal birth defects from Zika infection. Zika damages the brain of a developing baby, causing it to be born with a much smaller head and brain (microcephaly), vision and hearing problems or other neurological disorders, or to be stillborn.

Where Zika is Found

In the last several years certain U.S. areas have been at risk for Zika transmission after residents were infected by travel to Zika-affected countries. There are currently no U.S. areas under a Zika risk warning.

Pregnant women

All women should take strong protective measures against mosquitoes when traveling in areas where Zika is being actively transmitted.

Sexual transmission

Because Zika can be transmitted sexually, men who have traveled to or who live in an area where Zika virus is actively being transmitted should abstain from sex with pregnant women, or use condoms properly every time they have vaginal, anal, and oral sex for the duration of the pregnancy. Men and women can transmit the virus sexually to partners of either sex. See the precautions for returning travelers below for avoiding sexual transmission of Zika.

Prevention for travelers

While there is no vaccine to prevent Zika, travelers can protect themselves by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites. When traveling to countries where Zika virus has been reported:

Before you travel, check for countries with either Zika virus outbreaks or a risk of Zika.

Advice for returning travelers

If you are returning home after traveling in an area where Zika virus is being actively transmitted, protect others by following these steps:

Being tested for Zika

Your doctor or healthcare provider can arrange for Zika testing through the MSDH Public Health Laboratory.

Mosquito prevention

More information

General Zika Information

Physicians and Health Professionals

Links referenced
Returning from a Mission Trip    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/14,17919,399,86,html
Travel risks and precautions to take    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/14,17917,399,86,html
Riesgos de viaje y las precauciones a tomar    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/14,17918,399,86,html
More video and print resources    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/14,0,399,86,html
microcephaly    http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/microcephaly.html
areas with a Zika outbreak (as indicated by red areas on the Zika map).    https://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html

Find this page at http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/index.cfm

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