How is Zika virus transmitted?

Updated: Jun 30, 2021
  • Author: Bhagyashri D Navalkele, MD, MBBS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Like many other flaviviruses, Zika virus is transmitted by an arthropod: the Aedes mosquito, including Aedes aegypti, Aedes africanusAedes luteocephalusAedes albopictusAedes vittatusAedes furcifer, Aedes hensilli, and Aedes apicoargenteus. [1, 5, 25, 2]  Zika virus has also been isolated from domestic mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus. Zika virus circulates among different human and animal species with the mosquito as the vector of transmssion. The sylvatic cycle transmits Zika virus between non-human primates, and the urban life cycle infects humans. Ae. aegypti, a major vector for human transmission, and Ae. albopictus, a minor vector with few reported outbreaks, are typically found in tropical and subtropical regions and have also been discovered in other non-tropical parts of the world. The CDC has released a map of potential ZIKV spread in the United States based on the estimated range of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. 

In United States, transmission is active in months of June to October while the mosquito vectors feeds on humans during daytime. Zika virus is transmitted from the salivary gland of the biting mosquito into the host's blood circulation and subsequently infects the skin cells and other organs. [26]

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