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What Is Zika?

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Zika is a tropical virus in the same family as yellow fever, West Nile, chikungunya and dengue – all can be contracted through the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Zika virus can also be spread sexually or from mother to child.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the virus was linked in 2014 to an increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome in French Polynesia. It’s now getting a lot of attention because Brazil, in 2015, identified a connection between the virus and microcephaly, a neurological birth defect whereby babies are born with small brains.