Although there are currently no reported anesthetic implications for patients exposed to the Zika virus (ZIKV), physician anesthesiologists should be prepared to answer questions from their patients regarding this global health issue. Babies of women who were infected with ZIKV during pregnancy are at a higher risk for microcephaly and other defects of fetal brain development. This is the primary reason for the concern surrounding this infection. All physicians share a responsibility to translate the science and data so that our patients and the public receive a consistent and accurate message.

The ZIKV is a single-stranded RNA arbo (arthropod-borne) virus classified within the genus Flavivirus. Other species of Flaviviridae cause dengue fever, yellow fever and West Nile encephalitis. It is primarily spread to humans through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti or Ae. albopictus)....

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