A blood test (gold vacutainer) to test for antibodies to Zika virus which are usually present from about 2 weeks after a Zika infection. Couples planning or trying to conceive should refrain from unprotected intercourse for 6 months if concerned about Zika infection (or reinfection from their partner). Zika virus infection can cause congenital abnormalities such as microcephaly and most people who have a Zika virus infection will not have any symptoms hence laboratory testing should be considered if ZIka infection is a concern.
Zika IgM is usually elevated within 14 days of infection.
Zika virus (ZIKV) infection is spread by day-biting mosquitoes. The type of mosquitoes that carry Zika virus are not found in the UK. A small number of cases of sexual transmission of ZIKV have also been reported. ZIKV is a flavivirus (similar to dengue) and was first discovered in a monkey in the Zika forest, Uganda in 1947. It is found in parts of Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, Central and South America and the Caribbean.All travellers to countries where ZIKV is known to occur are at risk of infection, although determining the actual level of risk is difficult. Travellers who spend a long period in areas where ZIKV is common are at increased risk. However, even short-term visitors may be exposed to the virus.The majority of people infected with Zika virus have no symptoms. For those with symptoms, ZIKV infection is usually a mild and short-lived illness; severe disease is uncommon. Symptoms may include a combination of the following: fever, headache, conjunctivitis (red, sore eyes), joint and muscle pain, a rash, itching and swollen joints. There is no specific treatment; rest, fluids and pain relief are recommended to help relieve symptoms. Serious complications and deaths from ZIKV are not common. However, ZIKV is a cause of Congenital Zika Syndrome (microcephaly and other congenital anomalies) and neurological complications such as Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Zika virus is found in parts of:
- South and Central America
- the Caribbean
- the Pacific islands