Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes and can also be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy.
Symptoms are usually mild and include fever, muscle pain and headache.
The mosquitoes that can spread the virus are not normally found in New Zealand, but they are found in many countries around the world.
Pregnant women who become infected with Zika can transmit the disease to their unborn babies, with serious consequences. There are reports of an increase in severe birth defects in babies whose mothers are infected while pregnant.
If you are concerned about Zika, call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or see your doctor or practice nurse.
Zika virus is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species of mosquito.
There is no vaccine for Zika virus. The best way to avoid it is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Use insect repellent (you can apply this over sunscreen), wear long sleeves, pants and socks, and stay in places where there are mosquito screens on windows and doors, or places with air-conditioning where the doors and windows are closed.
Only around one in five people who are infected with Zika have symptoms. These include low-grade fever, a rash, red eyes and joint pain.
There are no specific treatments for Zika virus. Symptoms will typically clear up after four to seven days.
Anyone with symptoms should get plenty of rest and fluids. You can use paracetamol for pain and fever if needed. Until a health care professional can rule out dengue, do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, as there is a risk of bleeding.
If you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and you've recently travelled to an area with Zika, we recommend that you speak with your health care provider or lead maternity carer, even if you do not feel sick. It is especially important to see a health care provider if you develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes during your trip or within two weeks after travelling to a country where Zika has been reported.
Zika is a notifiable disease. This means that health professionals or laboratories will inform us when someone has it. Once we are notified about a case of Zika, we investigate the country of origin.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service also works to keep mosquitoes from overseas out of Auckland.
Last updated 13.12.2022