What is the risk of Zika virus infection in the US?

Updated: Jun 30, 2021
  • Author: Bhagyashri D Navalkele, MD, MBBS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Before 2015, only 14 travel-associated cases of Zika virus disease were reported in the United States. In 2016, around 5,168 laboratory-confirmed non-congenital Zika virus infections were reported in the United States. Most (95%) cases were imported as a result of travel to areas with ongoing outbreaks, 4% were potentially acquired via local vector-borne transmission in Florida and Texas, and 1% of the cases were acquired through other routes (sexual transmission, laboratory-acquired and unknown source). Guillain-Barré syndrome was reported in 0.3% of cases, of which 3% required hospitalization. Zika-associated birth defects occured in 10% of babies born to women in the United States. [18, 19]

United States territories such as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have reported around 37,188 symptomatic Zika virus disease cases, the majority of which were related to autochthonous transmission of the virus. Around 5% of babies born to women in US territories had Zika-associated birth defects. [18]

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