Initiatives – Zika

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Frequently asked questions

What is Zika?
Zika is a virus that can affect the development of babies during pregnancy & is spread by mosquitos & sex, so avoid getting bitten by a mosquito and always use a condom when you have sex.

How do people get infected with Zika?
Zika is spread by mosquitos, through sex (both penetrative & oral), and to a baby during pregnancy. That’s why if u live somewhere at risk of Zika u should protect urself from mosquito bites (e.g. use insect repellent) and use condoms when having sex.

What mosquito spreads Zika?
Zika virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito, which is the same mosquito that spreads dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

What health problems can result from getting Zika?
Most people have no or mild symptoms. The greatest risk is that Zika can affect the development of a baby during pregnancy, causing microcephaly & other congenital problems. Additionally, some people can also suffer from Guillain-Barre which can cause paralysis.

What are the symptoms of Zika virus disease?
The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, & muscle pain & can last for several days. However, many people with Zika won’t have symptoms at all.

Please send more info on Guillain-Barre Syndrome
For detailed information on Guillan-Barre Syndrome please look here:

Please send more info on microcephaly and other birth defects
For detailed information on microcephaly and other birth defects please look here:

What can people do to prevent Zika?
Protect urself & ur family from mosquito bites by using repellents, mosquito nets & clothes than cover ur skin. Destroy mosquito breeding sites in ur house. Empty & scrub water containers once/week. To stop sexual transmission always use a condom during sex.

How is Zika diagnosed?
A doctor will assess ur systems, and if u live somewhere with Zika & the Zika test is available, ur doctor will collect ur blood or urine to test for viruses like dengue, chikingunya & Zika. Unfortunately, this test is not available everywhere.

Is the Zika test available in my country?
Unfortunately, we don’t have a complete list of all countries that have Zika tests available. If u are concerned about Zika u should talk to ur doctor or health provider.

I am not pregnant, but will my future pregnancies be at risk if I am infected with Zika virus?
Currently, there is no evidence that a woman who has had Zika in the past will have Zika-related pregnancy complications that affect the development of the baby in the future. In any case, it is always important to go to your prenatal check ups during pregnancy.

Which insect repellents work best to prevent infections caused by mosquito bites?
Use mosquito repellents that include one of the following ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, OR 2-undecanone. Always follow instructions.

Can pregnant women use mosquito repellants?
When used as it tells u to on the label, insect repellents are proven to be safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

What should I do if I am sick, or a family member is sick, with Zika?
Firstly, go to ur doctor & follow their advice. There’s no specific medicine for Zika but u should protect those around u by making sure more mosquitos don’t bite you, get infected, and then bite other people. Continue to use insect repellant, wear clothes that cover your skin & use a condoms when you have sex.

Is there Zika where I live?
If u live where there are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitos (the black & white ones) u live in an area at risk of Zika. This includes most of Latin America & Caribbean. This map has more info

How do I know if I have Zika?
Many people don’t know if they have Zika as lots of people don’t have symptoms. If u’ve been bitten by a mosquito recently and ur thinking of having a baby soon u should ask ur doctor for a Zika diagnostics test.

I’m not having a baby, why should I care about Zika?
U should care about Zika because if u get Zika and then a mosquito bites u when ur infected that mosquito can pass it on to other people, including those who r pregnant. U can also spread it to your partner during sex.

How can I help my community?
U can help ur community by making sure there are no mosquito breeding sites. Empty & scrub clean containers every week & let the authorities eliminate mosquito breeding sites too. U can also talk about Zika so people r aware of the virus & its consequences. 

How can I kill mosquito larvae?
Mosquito larvae (eggs) live in standing or stored water. U can kill them by using insecticide and dumping or removing standing water in and around your house and community. Empty & scrub clean any container with standing water once a week.

How long should I wait to have sex if I suspect that I’ve had Zika?
If u think u’ve had Zika u should consider using condoms in all your sexual interactions  or not having sex for at least 6 months.

How can I know if I have Zika or not? Is there a test for Zika?
There is a test for Zika, but it is not available everywhere. If ur pregnant or planning on having a baby & live in an area at risk of Zika you should talk to your doctor.

How do you cure Zika?
There is no cure for Zika. If ur pregnant or thinking of having a baby u should be especially careful if u live in an area with mosquitos: use insect repellents & wear clothes that cover your skin, empty & scrub any container with water once a week & use a condom during sex.

Can I get Zika from oral sex?
Zika can be transmitted by vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex and by sharing sex toys, so u should always use a condom when having sex. For more advise see here:

Why doesn’t the Government fumigate more rather than spending money on stupid things?
UNICEF & its partners works with Governments (at national and local level) to encourage them to make sure there aren’t mosquitos in communities. This is especially important after events like the hurricanes in the Caribbean.

How many people in the world have Zika right now?
The official report from the Panamerican Health organization on November 2th 2017 states that the total number of reported Zika infections in Latin America are 1,003,509, with 3.689 babies with Congenital Zika Syndrome.

What can I do as well as using repellent?
U can make sure there are no mosquito breeding sites in ur home, school or work place, empty & scrub containers with water (including flower pots!) every week, & use a condom during sex. Talk about Zika too! Spread the word of what to do.

Can Zika affect anyone of any age?
Zika can affect anyone of any age, but it is most dangerous for pregnant women because it can affect the long term development of their baby.

Can Zika cause cancer?
As far as scientists are aware, Zika cannot cause cancer.

Does Zika stop you having children?
As far as scientists are aware, Zika does not affect ur long term fertility. Some research suggests that women who have had Zika during pregnancy have had miscarriages, but they should be able to have other full-term pregnancies.

Why is Zika a virus?
Zika is a virus because it needs a ‘living host’ (a person or animal) to live and reproduce. Zika can be transmitted by mosquitoes through a bite or person to person during sex.

Can animals get Zika?
Scientists are unsure if animals such as monkeys or other primates can have Zika. There is no evidence that other animals like cats or dogs can.

Does Zika affect the environment?
Zika virus does not infect plants or affect the environment.

What are we doing to cure Zika?
Scientists are working hard on a vaccine that will prevent the transmission of the Zika virus from mosquitoes to people.

How do I know which is the Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito?
The Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitos are the little black and white striped mosquitos.There is not a big difference. 

What are the areas most at risk of Zika? Where can you get bitten more?
In any location where there are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes (the black and white ones) u can get Zika. Mosquitos breed where there is stagnant water (in anything as small as an egg shell) and in rubbish.

Can you die from Zika?
There are very, very few reported cases of people dying from the complications of Zika. However, some pregnant women have had still-births or miscarriages as a result of Zika. Anyway, the impact is very important.

Is Zika the same as AIDS?
Zika is not the same as AIDS, although they can both be transmitted by sex, so we always recommend using a condom when you have sex (vaginal, anal or oral).

What do I do if I have Zika, but I don’t want my parents to know?
If u have Zika & u don’t have to tell ur parents, but we would always recommend talking to an adult u trust or going to the medical centre, especially if u think u might be pregnant.

Can I get Zika from kissing my boyfriend/girlfriend?
U cannot get Zika from kissing.

Does Zika affect poor people more?
Zika can affect anyone, but in communities where lots of people live very close together, with poor sanitation conditions, with stored water and near lots of garbage, there are often more mosquitos, which can spread diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.

What is Dengue?
Dengue is a virus spread through mosquito bites. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, & pain in the eyes, joints, & muscles. In severe cases, it can cause intense stomach pain, repeated vomiting, bleeding from nose or gums, & death. 

What is Chikungunya?
Chikungunya is a virus spread by mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever and joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. You can protect yourself from Chikungunya by preventing mosquito bites.

How can the same mosquito transmit 3 diseases?
The aedes aegypti mosquito can carry 3 viruses inside them at the same time, so can transmit dengue, chikingunya and Zika.

What’s the difference between Zika and Dengue and Chikungunya?
The symptoms and consequences are different, so Zika for example can affect the development of a baby during pregnancy.

How is Zika spread by mosquitos?
If a mosquito bites a person who is sick the mosquito will get infected. The infected mosquito can then bite healthy people and spread the infection to them. Other mosquitoes can bite the sick person, become infected, and bite more people.

How will the hurricane affect Zika?
The hurricanes in the Caribbean mean there is more standing water, and people living in more difficult conditions than usual, so there are likely to be more mosquitos. This could cause more diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.

We’ve had lots of floods. Will that make Zika worse?
Floods bring more stagnant water and often mean people are living in more difficult and crowded conditions that usual, and are having to store water. This means there are likely to be more mosquitos, which could cause diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.

How HIV is transmitted?
HIV is transmitted through sex and sharing needles or syringes. A mother who is HIV positive can also pass it to her child during pregnancy. More info here:

What should I do to prevent STI/HIV?
You should always use a condom every time u have sex.

If I am faithful to one partner, will this be sufficient to protect me against a STI/HIV?
If  u & ur partner have both tested negative for HIV and r both faithful, u can choose to not use condoms. If u r unsure always use a condom when u have sex.

I have been raped/had sex with someone with HIV without a condom what should I do?
Firstly, u should talk to ur doctor. There is kit called a PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) kit, which includes medicine called antiretroviral medicines that u can take in emergency situations up to 72 hours after being exposed to HIV. More info:

How do you know if I have HIV?
To know if u have HIV u should go to a doctor and ask for a test. They will take a small blood sample and test this.

If my partner has HIV, can I have unprotected sex with her/him?
We would always recommend using a condom when u have sex with ur partner. If u would like to have a baby, we recommend talking to ur doctor to understand how to do this with the minimum risk to urself.

How do you know if I have an STI?
There r many different sexually transmitted infections/diseases. Some have symptoms & some don’t. It is best to get regularly checked by a doctor. Click for more info

How do I use a condom?
Here’s are 2 links with images that show u how to use condoms. Male condoms: Female condoms:

I have x,y,z symptom. Do I have an STI?
We r unable to answer specific queries about ur health. If u have any concerns u should talk to a health provider. Click here for a guide to some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases/infections

What is repellent?
Repellent is a liquid or spray used to repel insects like mosquitos.

How many children could get Zika in xxx country?
Wherever there is the Aedes mosquito there is a risk of Zika, dengue & chikungunya. We don’t have info on exact number potentially affected in each country.

About HPV
You can get HPV from oral, vaginal & anal sex from someone who has the virus. So you should always use a condom every time you have sex.

Can a mosquito transmit an STI
You can only get STIs from having unprotected sex, but there are some illnesses, like Zika, that can be transmitted by mosquitos & sex

I want to leave U-Report
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Who created zika?
Zika was not created by a person, but is a virus spread by mosquitos and through sex.

What time does the live Chat finish?
The Live Chat finishes at 1.30: Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, 2.30: Panama, Haiti, Peru, Jamaica, 3.30: Bolivia, Guyana, Venezuela, BVI, TCI, 4.30:Argentina, Suriname, Paraguay & 5.30 in Uruguay.

Which is more dangerous Zika or AIDS?
Different illnesses have different consequences. Zika can affect the development of a baby, whilst AIDS whilst AIDS affects your immune system which is related to the capacity of ur body to resist infections. We always recommend seeking advice from a medical professional.
What is semen?
Semen is a bodily fluid secreted by the sexual organs (penis) of a man, which may contain sperm and can fertilise a woman’s egg.

How long does Zika last?
Scientists have found the Zika virus in women up to 2 months after infection and up to 6 months in men.

How can Zika affect the development of a baby?
It can cause damage in the brain of the baby (and microcephaly). This can cause convulsions, developmental delay, speech problems, movement and balance problems, difficulty eating, vision and hearing impairments, & other indications of development or intellectual disability.


Last update: December 20, 2017.





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