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Zika Virus

UnitedHealthcare Responds to Zika Virus

The health and wellbeing of our members is a top priority. UnitedHealthcare’s clinical leadership is working with key health authorities, health care providers and others to closely monitor the Zika virus situation and support the needs of the people we serve.

What is Zika?

Zika is an illness primarily transmitted by mosquitoes. The Zika virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be transmitted through unprotected sex with an individual infected with the Zika virus or infected blood transfusions.

Who Does it Affect?

As you may have heard, the Florida Department of Health recently announced the first cases of locally-transmitted Zika in the Continental U.S.

Generally speaking, the threat of serious illness from the Zika virus is low, except for the risk to a pregnant woman’s unborn baby. Most people may not show any symptoms of Zika. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 5 people may show symptoms of mild illness and experience an itchy rash, joint pain, red or swelling eyes, or a low grade fever.

Infected pregnant women can spread the virus to their unborn baby. The virus has been linked to pregnancy loss and serious birth defects in babies, such as microcephaly. This is a rare disease in which a child’s brain doesn’t fully develop.

Prevention is Key

The CDC has stated that pregnant women should avoid travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission and women trying to get pregnant should talk to their doctors before traveling or before their partners travel.

The CDC encourages everyone, especially pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant to protect themselves from mosquito bites. To protect against sexual transmission, the CDC recommends abstinence or consistently using barrier protection.  

Currently, there is no FDA-approved vaccine or medication to treat Zika.

Member Support

UnitedHealthcare is following the recommendations and guidance issued by the CDC, as well as state and local public health departments, in supporting our members’ needs:

  • For the most up-to-date information, guidance and travel alerts about Zika virus, visit the CDC’s Zika virus homepage and the World Health Organization’s media center.
  • Download(Opens a new window) the Zika informational flyer.
  • Contact your health care provider or the NurseLine, if you have questions or concerns regarding Zika. Look for the toll-free numbers on the back of your member ID card.
  • If you have questions related to you medical benefit plan and coverage, please contact customer care at the number listed on the back of your member ID card.

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