Diseases and Conditions

Zika virus

Risk factors

Factors that put you at greater risk of catching the Zika virus include:

  • Living or traveling in countries where there have been outbreaks. Being in tropical and subtropical areas increases your risk of exposure to the Zika virus. Especially high-risk areas include several of the Pacific Islands, a number of countries in Central, South and North America, and islands near West Africa. Because the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus are found worldwide, it's likely that outbreaks will continue to spread to new regions.

    Most cases of Zika virus infection in the U.S. have been reported in travelers returning to the U.S. from other areas. But the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus do live in some parts of the United States and its territories. Local transmission has been reported in Florida, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

  • Having unprotected sex. The Zika virus can spread from one person to another through sex. Having unprotected sex can increase the risk of Zika virus infection for up to three months after travel. For this reason, pregnant women whose sex partners recently lived in or traveled to an area where Zika virus is common should use a condom during sexual activity or abstain from sexual activity until the baby is born. All other couples can also reduce the risk of sexual transmission by using a condom or abstaining from sexual activity for up to three months after travel.