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Zika Virus

aedes aeg.jpg    Aedes aegypti female​

​Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus, transmitted primarily by two species of mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, both of which are not found in Alaska.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, which can occur from 3 to 12 days after exposure. The illness is usually mild, with only one out of five infected people developing symptoms. Symptoms usually last less than one week.

Outbreaks of Zika have occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas, with Puerto Rico reporting its first case of locally-acquired disease in December 2015. Locally mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in the continental United States. In 2007, a case of Zika was confirmed in an Alaskan who traveled to Yap, and in July 2016 an out of state person was diagnosed with Zika while in Alaska. Most recently in April 2017, a case was confirmed in an Alaskan who travelled to Central America.

The Alaska Zika Action Plan can be found here.

Arbovirus infections (including Zika) are reportable conditions in Alaska. Providers are reminded to report all suspected Zika infections to the Alaska Section of Epidemiology (SOE) at (907) 269-8000.

​​​Laboratory Testing for Zika

Testing is recommended only for certain people including:

  • Any symptomatic (e.g., fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis) individual who has a possible Zika* exposure; OR

  • Pregnant women without symptoms who have had a recent possible Zika exposure* AND planned ongoing exposure (e.g. back and forth travel to a Zika risk areas); OR

  • Pregnant women without symptoms who have had a recent possible Zika exposure* AND prenatal ultrasound finding consistent with congenital Zika virus; OR
  • An infant/child of a woman suspected to have Zika infection.

*Possible Zika exposure includes living in, traveling to, or having unprotected sex with someone who lives in or traveled to a Zika risk area as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC does not recommend routine testing for asymptomatic pregnant women with a potential recent exposure.  Testing through the Alaska State Public Health Laboratory will be available for this population when the shared patient-provider decision making model is applied and testing is desired by the patient and provider.

Zika virus testing is available at the Alaska State Public Health Laboratory-Anchorage (ASPHL) and other commercial reference laboratories.  Testing at ASPHL however must be pre-approved by the Section of Epidemiology: call (907) 269-8000.

If you are concerned about Zika and considering getting pregnant, click here.