What are the symptoms of Zika virus?

Most people who are infected with the Zika virus don't get sick and have no signs or symptoms. If you do get sick with Zika, it's usually a mild illness, and you may not even know you're infected. If you do have signs or symptoms, they usually begin 2 to 7 days after you’ve been exposed to the virus. You can be sick with Zika for several days to a week. Signs and symptoms of Zika include:
  • Headache
  • Fever (You may or may not have a fever if you have Zika.)
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Pink eye (also called conjunctivitis) or pain behind the eyes
  • Rash
  • Throwing up
Learn more at: marchofdimes.org/zika
The most common symptoms of Zika virus are low-grade fever, usually 99 to 100 or 101; some muscle aches; some joint pain and conjunctivitis or red eye. The disease is very self-limiting. People will have symptoms for three to seven days. They will take a little Tylenol, stay well hydrated and get better just like that. In most cases, people would rarely miss a day or two of school or work. It’s really the infants doctors are worrying about–women carrying babies–because Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects.

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Zika symptoms include:
  • fever
  • pink eye
  • skin rash
  • joint pain
These symptoms can be confused with those of other diseases. Lab tests can tell if you have the Zika virus. 

The most devastating problem related to Zika is when a woman gets the infection when pregnant. Babies born to moms with Zika may have brain damage and microcephaly, which is a small head.
Symptoms of Zika virus disease usually begin 2-7 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. About one in five people infected with Zika will get sick. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes. Other symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. Severe disease is uncommon, and deaths are rare. However, there have been cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome reported in patients following suspected Zika virus infection. There is also a possible association between Zika virus and a reported increase in the number of babies born with a birth defect called microcephaly.
Kelli L. Culpepper, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Symptoms of the Zika virus are mild and not very specific, says OB/GYN Kelli Culpepper, MD, of Medical City Dallas Hospital. In this video, she explains some of the signs of Zika virus and why travel history is considered in making a diagnosis.
Khang N. Tran, MD
Internal Medicine
Symptoms of the Zika virus include:
  • Body aches
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Rash
  • Muscle pain and headache (less common)
Keith Roach, MD
Internal Medicine
Eighty percent of people with Zika virus have no symptoms, and the remainder usually have mild symptoms of a fever, rash, and sometimes joint aches or eye irritation. Symptoms generally last a week. Headache and muscle aches are sometimes seen.
Zika virus usually has no symptoms at all. Only about 20% of people who become infected will have symptoms, and those are usually mild. People may have a fever, skin rash, red eyes, joint pain or sometimes headaches. The symptoms typically start three to 12 days after the mosquito bite, and last between two and seven days. Rarely, the virus can cause complications in people with existing conditions, which can lead to hospitalization or death. 

Continue Learning about Zika Virus

Zika Virus

Zika Virus

Zika virus is a tropical disease that is spread by Aedes species of mosquitoes. Until 2015, the virus was limited to small outbreaks in regions of Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands. Mosquitoes can pick up the virus by biting an ...

n infected person, and then transmit it to someone else they bite later. The virus doesn’t generally spread from person to person directly, though sexual transmission is possible.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.