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What is zika virus disease?

Page last updated 07 July 2020

Zika virus disease is a mosquito-borne viral illness that is commonly transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus does not cause illness in everyone who is infected – some people do not experience any symptoms at all.However around one in five people may get symptoms including fever, rash, conjunctivitis, severe headache and muscle pain. In some people the disease can cause complications – such as stillbirth or birth defects in the unborn child of an infected, pregnant mother.1 In  others, it can cause a neurological condition called Guillain Barre syndrome that affects the nerves and can cause paralysis.

Outbreaks of zika virus disease have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, Central and South America and the Pacific Islands.

Sources & Citations

  1. World Health Organisation. Zika virus. Available at: (accessed 17 June 2020).
  2. Australian Government Department of Health. Zika Virus Factsheet – The Basics. Available at: (accessed 17 June 2020).


MAT-AU-2000128 - Date of preparation June 2020