Updated March 2016

The Zika virus is  transmitted by a mosquito - Aedes aegypti. It was first isolated in 1947 in Rhesus macaques of the Zika Forest (Uganda); human infection was initially shown through serology studies in Uganda and Tanzania in 1952 and the virus was successfully isolated from human samples in Nigeria in 1968.
A recent large increase in the rate of microcephaly has put Zika in the spotlight and a similar increase in microcephaly rates in Polynesia a few years earlier has made the WHO more concerned there may be a causal link.

The RANZCOG has posted this information


   For Clinicians          Testing for it?        Countries Affected    FAQ

SYMPTOMS: There is no significant difference in signs or symptoms between pregnant and non-pregnant people infected with Zika. Symptoms of the disease typically appear after a three- to twelve-day incubation period, although 70-80% of people have no symptoms at all.

The main clinical features last 4-7 days and are:
  •    Fever 37.2°C to 38°C  
  •    Muscle and/or joint pain especially hands and feet
  •    Conjunctivitis   
  •    An Itchy maculopapular rash (this is very typical of the disease)

The following may also occur but are less specific and obviously may be common to any viral infection:
Swelling of the lower limbs (normal in pregnancy)  
Pain behind the eyes  
and then the usual viral symptoms of:
Abdominal pain

In the context of Zika virus, some countries have reported an increased occurrence of neurological syndromes, including Guillain-Barré Syndrome.