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People usually get the Zika virus through a mosquito bite, but not a bite from any mosquito.

Zika is affecting parts of Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and other places listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The type of mosquito linked to the current outbreak lives in these places. It has not been found in New York City.

The most common Zika symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)

Most people do not need to get tested for Zika virus, even if they traveled to a place where Zika is spreading. Testing is most important for women who:

  • Spent time in a Zika-affected area while pregnant, OR
  • While pregnant, had condomless sex with a man who recently spent time in a Zika-affected area

Talk to a health care provider if you want to get tested.

Online

Learn more about the Zika virus.

Find the latest Zika-affected locations.

Read the CDC Health Alert Advisory.

Sign up to get health alerts, advisories, updates, and other information from Department of Health.

By Phone

Call 311 for assistance.

Zika is not spreading in New York City, but local mosquitoes can spread other diseases, like West Nile Virus.

You can help stop the spread of mosquito-borne viruses by following these steps:

  • Apply insect repellents and wear long sleeves or pants in the evening during mosquito season (June through September).
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
  • A very small body of water can be the breeding ground for hundreds of mosquito eggs. Empty standing water from containers such as:
    • Flower pots
    • Gutters
    • Buckets
    • Pool covers
    • Pet water dishes
    • Discarded tires
    • Birdbaths
    • Make sure backyard pools are properly maintained and chlorinated.

Pregnancy Warning

The Zika virus is not dangerous for most people, but Zika causes birth defects. One birth defect linked to Zika is a smaller than normal head. This condition is called “microcephaly.” Health experts are still learning about the link between Zika and microcephaly.

To avoid this risk, pregnant women and women who are trying to become pregnant should not travel to a Zika-affected area until health experts say it’s safe. Pregnant women who did travel to an area affected by Zika should call their health care providers to discuss testing. Women who are trying to become pregnant should talk to their health care providers before traveling.

If a pregnant woman’s sex partner has or might have Zika, they should plan to avoid sexual activity, or use barrier protection (such as male or female condoms for vaginal and anal sex, or dental dams for oral sex) correctly every time they have vaginal, anal, and oral sex, or if they are sharing sex toys for the duration of the pregnancy.

Learn more about Zika and pregnancy.

Guidance to Avoid Spreading Zika Sexually

Both men and women can spread Zika through sex. Sex includes vaginal, anal, and oral sex, or sharing sex toys. Health experts are still learning about this risk but recommend that people who travel to Zika-affected areas use barrier protection (such as male or female condoms for vaginal and anal sex, or dental dams for oral sex) and birth control while they are traveling and after they return home.

Barrier protection may stop Zika from spreading sexually. Birth control helps prevent pregnancy in which one or both sex partners might have Zika.

Guidance for Pregnant Women and Their Sex Partners

Pregnant women who did not travel to a Zika-affected area should:

  • Postpone travel to affected areas until health experts say it’s safe
  • Call their health care provider to discuss Zika testing

If you are a person who has traveled to a Zika-affected area and are sexually active with a pregnant woman, you and your partner should plan together to abstain from sexual activity or use barrier protection (such as male or female condoms for vaginal and anal sex, or dental dams for oral sex) correctly every time you have vaginal, anal and oral sex and/or sharing sex toys for the duration of the pregnancy.

If you are pregnant and had unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with a person who has or might have Zika, contact your health care provider to discuss Zika testing.

Zika Awareness Kit

The Department of Health is taking action to prevent the Zika virus infection in pregnant women by supplying medical providers with Zika Awareness Kits for pregnant women.

Each kit contains:

  • One 1-ounce bottle of insect repellent
  • Four condoms
  • One Travel/Warning Flyer

Medical providers can order kits for their practice. Women who are planning to conceive or are pregnant can also order a kit.

Call 311 for assistance by phone.

Zika Travel Warning Posters and Fact Sheets

Providers and organizations can order free Zika pregnancy travel warning posters in English and 11 other languages. Each poster is 11 inches wide and 17 inches long.

You can also find translated fact sheets about Zika and translated pregnancy travel warning flyers online. These items are sized so that they can be printed by organizations as needed.

Online

Download Zika pregnancy travel warning posters and fact sheets.

By Phone

Call 311 for assistance.

Zika Wallet Card

If you are a woman who has been diagnosed with Zika during your pregnancy, or if you have a baby who has tested positive for Zika, you can order a wallet card that has space to list your Zika test results and the results for your child.

You can keep this card with you and bring it when you take your baby to the doctor.

Call 311 for assistance by phone.

If you are traveling to an affected area, take steps to avoid mosquitoes. The type of mosquito linked to the current outbreak is very aggressive. These mosquitoes bite during the day and early evening.

  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under 3 years old).
    • Use repellents approved by the EPA and follow the directions on the label.
    • Apply sunscreen first, then repellent.
    • Insect repellent is safe for pregnant women.
    • Do not use insect repellent on infants younger than 2 months old. Do not allow young children to apply insect repellent themselves.
    • Do not apply insect repellent to a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, or any irritated skin or cuts.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants, and dress children the same way. Wear clothing treated with permethrin (a chemical that repels insects).
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or window and door screens.
  • Use a mosquito bed net if you cannot keep mosquitoes out of your residence. Cover cribs, strollers, and baby carriers with mosquito netting.

You should also get rid of standing water that collects in and around your residence, because standing water attracts mosquitoes. You can report Standing Water to 311 during mosquito season.

The State Department of Health offers a free 2-pack of larvicide, also known as Mosquito Dunks. This larvicide uses a naturally-occurring type of bacteria to control mosquitoes before they become potentially disease-carrying adults. Dunks are best used in New York State from April to September, when mosquitoes are active.

Mosquitoes hatch more frequently in warmer weather. Larvicide can be used in areas where water collects and cannot be removed or drained, including:

  • Pool covers
  • Ornamental ponds
  • Fountains
  • Rain barrels

You can get more information on Zika and larvicide or request a free 2-pack of larvicide.

Online

Learn more about Zika and larvicide from the State Department of Health.

By Phone

  • Agency: New York State Department of Health
  • Division: Zika Information Line
  • Phone Number: (888) 364-4723
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM