What is the Zika virus?

Zika is an infection caused by a virus that infects human cells, particularly certain stem cells and brain cells. Zika occurs naturally in the Pacific region, South and Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, and parts of South and Southeast Asia, but not in the UK; however, passengers coming from abroad have been reported to be infected with the virus in some cases.


How can I catch the Zika virus?

The virus is mostly transmitted by mosquito bites in countries where the virus naturally occurs. The mosquito bite transfers the virus to the human body where it multiplies until it becomes ready to be transferred to another host.

The Zika virus has been found in the semen of men who have been exposed to Zika, and reports have documented sexual transmission of the virus from men to women. An infected woman can pass the virus to her foetus during pregnancy.

The current knowledge of how the virus is transmitted is still limited. Therefore, getting tested for Zika is the best way to quickly and easily establish whether you have been exposed.

What are the symptoms and signs of Zika in men and women?

Around 80% of people will not notice any symptoms. Symptoms, when they do occur, can include:

  • Rash
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Eye infection.


Did you know? …

Passing the Zika virus from a pregnant woman to her foetus can lead to life-limiting conditions and premature death.

How can the Zika virus be tested/checked?

At Better2Know, we can easily test you for the Zika virus. If you have symptoms which have appeared in the last two weeks, then we would suggest you choose the urine test; results will take no longer than 9 working days after we receive your sample at our laboratory. If your exposure was more than 1 week before suspecting an infection, then you should have the blood test, for which results take 5 working days from when we receive your sample.

You can also get a home sample collection kit by visiting our Home STI Tests page.

What are the risks if the Zika virus is left untreated?

An infection with the Zika virus during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as microcephaly, where the brain and head of the developing foetus do not develop correctly, leading to life-limiting conditions and early death.

What is the treatment for the Zika virus?

Aside from drinking plenty of water and taking pain killers, there is currently no specific treatment to help relieve the symptoms associated with the Zika virus.

Book your Zika test

Better2Know is the world’s leading provider of private sexual health testing services. We will arrange a clinic appointment or home testing kit quickly, and deliver fast and accurate results for your peace of mind. If you have any concerns about your sexual health, please call our friendly booking team on the number above or click Book Now.