How is the Zika virus transmitted and where is it?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is generally believed that the Zika virus is transmitted from a person to a mosquito to another person.
This means that in order for the Zika virus to spread within a region, two things must be present for that to occur: an individual who is affected with the Zika virus AND the Aedes aegypti mosquito, or potentially the Aedes albopictus mosquito, to transmit it to other people. If you are concerned about potential transmission of the virus in your area, check to see if BOTH factors exist there.
These mosquitoes generally live in tropical and subtropical areas, including some southern and southeastern areas of the United States. To see the current habitat of the Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito in the United States, click here for a map from the CDC that shows their approximate distribution.
The CDC reports that, in rare instances, spread of the Zika virus through blood transfusion and sexual contact have been reported.
Where is the Zika virus?
You can check the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) website here to see what locations have active Zika outbreaks on any particular day. It is expected that the Zika virus may extend to other geographies over time.
A WHO report released on 5/18/16 indicates the risk of a Zika virus disease outbreak in the European region, similar to that seen in the Americas, is moderate to low. This is mainly because the mosquito that is known to be responsible for the outbreak in the Americas (Aedes aegypti) is not widely present in Europe, although it is established in limited areas, such as Madeira Island and the north-eastern Black Sea coast.
The Zika virus has not yet been reported as an outbreak that is being spread within the continental United States or Alaska or Hawaii.
There have been reported cases of Zika inflections in individuals who may have traveled to locations, such as Brazil, that have current Zika outbreaks.