Zika is the virus that causes Zika virus infection. The virus is mainly spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Only certain kinds of mosquitoes are able to transmit the virus that can cause disease. About four out of five people infected with Zika virus will have no signs or symptoms of illness. The people who do become ill may have fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms are usually mild and last from a few days to a week. It is rare for a person with Zika virus infection to become severely ill or be hospitalized.
Although more investigation is needed, there is evidence that Zika virus infection causes birth defects or miscarriage in some pregnant women who are exposed early in their pregnancies. There have also been reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome following Zika virus infection. Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare but serious disorder that affects nerves and can cause a number of complications including paralysis, respiratory distress, and rarely death.
Activity in New Mexico
New Mexico had 10 reported cases of Zika virus disease in 2016, and, so far, no reported cases of Zika virus disease in 2017. Of the 10 cases in 2016, all were in travelers who were infected abroad and diagnosed after they returned home.
2016 Case Counts by County
- Bernalillo - 4
- Chaves - 1
- Curry - 1
- Doña Ana – 1 (this person was not in Doña Ana County during the part of his illness when he could infect any mosquitoes or people)
- Sandoval - 1
- Santa Fe - 1
- Socorro - 1
UPDATED: April 19, 2017 — Zika case data is updated on Wednesday afternoons.
Read the following news releases for more information.
Zika virus infection is mainly acquired through the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquitoes are infected by feeding on a person who has the virus. There are only two kinds of mosquito in the United States that are able to transmit Zika virus: Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito). These mosquitoes are also capable of transmitting other diseases to people, such as dengue and chikungunya viruses. These two species of mosquitoes like to live near people, either indoors or outdoors, and mostly bite during the daytime. They can sometimes be distinguished by their bold black-and-white markings, which are different from the gray or brown color of most other kinds of mosquitoes.
NOTE: If you have seen black and white mosquitoes that bite during the day in New Mexico, take a clear photograph and email it as an attachment to us at our email@example.com address. Please be sure to include when and where you saw the mosquito.
Mosquito bites are the main way that Zika virus is transmitted. It is possible that it can also be transmitted from a mother to her fetus during pregnancy or to her baby at the time of delivery; these risks are currently being studied. There have been no reports of infants becoming infected with Zika virus through breastfeeding.
Zika virus can be spread through blood transfusions. Because of this, American blood banks are not accepting donations from people who have traveled to a Zika-affected area until an appropriate number of days after they have returned to an area where Zika virus is not present.
There is also a risk of Zika virus transmission through sexual contact. Visit the Interim Guidance for Preventing Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus page to see the latest CDC recommendations for the prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus.
Are New Mexicans at Risk?
The two mosquito species in the United States that can transmit Zika virus have been found in some parts of southern New Mexico. If a person gets infected with the virus while in an area with Zika virus transmission and then goes to a part of New Mexico where Aedes aegypti or Ae. albopictus mosquitoes are present, those mosquitoes could become infected with the virus by biting the infected person and could then spread the infection to other people they bite. To prevent this from happening, the New Mexico Department of Health recommends that anyone who has traveled to a Zika-affected area in the previous two weeks protect themselves against mosquito bites by following the precautions listed below.
Protection against Mosquitoes at Home and Abroad
Visit the CDC Zika Virus Travel Information page for up-to-date information about where Zika virus is present. People can protect themselves from Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases by following these prevention suggestions:
- Use an EPA-approved insect repellent. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label so that you use repellents safely.
The following active ingredients provide the longest-lasting protection:
- DEET (up to 30%)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus
- Para-menthane diol
- Cover skin with long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Keep mosquitoes out of homes and hotel rooms.
- Choose a hotel or lodging with air conditioning or screens on windows and doors.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net when outside or in a room that is not screened.
Visit the Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks, & Other Arthropods page for more information on mosquito bite prevention.
Guidance for Health Care Providers
The latest CDC guidance for the clinical evaluation and diagnosis of Zika virus can be found on the Zika Virus Information for Healthcare Providers page.
For more information about submitting patient samples for Zika virus testing, please contact the New Mexico Department of Health Epidemiology and Response Division Reporting & Surveillance hotline at 505-827-0006.
All requests for testing must come from a medical provider and after approval by NMDOH each sample must be accompanied by an SLD Clinical Test Request Form (Pre-Populated for Zika Virus). Please follow our Instructions for Submitting Zika Virus Samples for more details.
Preparedness and Response Plan
The New Mexico Department of Health All-Hazard Emergency Operations Plan Functional Annex: Zika Preparedness and Response Plan describes the management and coordination of DOH resources and personnel during periods of public health emergencies, disasters or events. Planning teams, comprised of subject matter experts, planners and representatives of stakeholder organizations contributed to this plan.
This plan incorporates guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency. lt also builds on lessons learned from planned events, disasters, emergencies, trainings, and exercises.
Please read the Zika Preparedness and Response Plan for the complete details.
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