1. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 4 million people may be infected with the Zika virus by the end of the year.
2. Although it is not particularly dangerous to adults of non-childbearing age--causing fairly mild, flu-like symptoms--it is extremely hazardous to fetuses and women who are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant. As has been widely reported, it’s known to cause brain damage and small head size in developing babies (a condition called microcephale).
3. Right now, you can only contract the Zika virus in tropical and sub-tropical climates. It’s so rampant in South America—especially Brazil—that governments have issued travel and pregnancy warnings.
4. The Zika virus is transmitted via mosquito bites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to avoid getting Zika is to prevent bites by wearing long sleeves and pants, staying in places with air conditioning, and applying an EPA-registered insect repellent whenever you’re planning to spend time outside.
5. If you must spend time in an affected area, the CDC suggests treating clothing and gear with a repellent called permethrin (but never apply it directly to skin).
6. According to the CDC, there are two documented cases of Zika being transmitted sexually. Although these have obviously been rare occurrences, wear a condom when having intercourse with someone who may have been in the affected area.
7. To stay current on travel warnings and recommendations, check out the CDC’s Zika Travel Health Website.