Information & Resources for Healthcare Providers

Zika virus is a single-stranded RNA virus of the Flaviviridae family, genus Flavivirus. Zika virus is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The mosquito vectors typically breed in domestic water-holding containers; they are aggressive daytime biters and feed both indoors and outdoors near dwellings. Nonhuman and human primates are likely the main reservoirs of the virus, and anthroponotic (human-to-vector-to-human) transmission occurs during outbreaks.


Based on the typical clinical features, the differential diagnosis for Zika virus infection is broad. In addition to dengue, other considerations includel eptospirosis, malaria, rickettsia, group A streptococcus, rubella, measles, and parvovirus, enterovirus, adenovirus, and alphavirus infections (e.g., Chikungunya, Mayaro, Ross River, Barmah Forest, O’nyong-nyong, and Sindbis viruses). As an arboviral disease, Zika virus is a nationally notifiable condition. Healthcare providers are encouraged to report suspected cases to their state or local health departments to facilitate diagnosis and mitigate the risk of local transmission.


No specific antiviral treatment is available for Zika virus disease. Treatment is generally supportive and can include rest, fluids, and use of analgesics and antipyretics. Because of similar geographic distribution and symptoms, patients with suspected Zika virus infections also should be evaluated and managed for possible dengue or chikungunya virus infection. Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage. People infected with Zika, chikungunya, or dengue virus should be protected from further mosquito exposure during the first few days of illness to prevent other mosquitoes from becoming infected and reduce the risk of local transmission.

(Information courtesy of the CDC)

Information & Resources

Key Information

  • Clinicians: Contact the Howard County Health Department Communicable Disease, Investigation & Intervention Program at 410-313-1412 to facilitate testing. 
  • Clinician MD DHMH Assessment Guidance for and Exposed Woman. (Click to download)
  • Zika virus is a nationally notifiable condition. Healthcare providers should report suspected Zika cases to their state, local, or territorial health department according to the laws or regulations for reportable diseases in their jurisdiction.