Posted in Health, news

What does the Zika rash look like?

Physicians of the first woman who contracted Zika on US soil published her case study this week in the New England Journal of Medicine including pictures of what the rash looked like.

A team of physicians from the University of Miami Health System reported the 23-year old Miami-Dade pregnant patient presented to them in July with fever, sore throat and the rash pictured below.  This rash was present on her chest, arms, legs, palms and soles of her feet.

zika-rashNew England Journal of Medicine



The fever came first, then the rash, and then joint pain.  She was at that time 23 weeks gestation, or roughly 5 months pregnant.  At this time, the only cases of Zika in the US were those acquired during travel to affected areas and those acquired from sexual contact.  No one yet had been infected by local mosquitoes.

The patient, however, was knowledgeable on Zika and its risk to a fetus and when she presented, made known her concerns.  She had not traveled to any affected countries and the rash was very pronounced.  The medical team ran laboratory tests on various viruses including measles and mumps and Zika results proved positive.  Fortunately, she gave birth to a healthy full term infant late last year with no evidence of birth defects and no trace of the Zika virus.

Zika has been linked to a congenital syndrome that can cause microcephaly (small and poorly developed head), neurological deficits, seizures, feeding problems, limb abnormalities and even eye issues.

Congenital Zika Syndrome is described here:

Dr. Lucy Chen is a Dermatology resident at Jackson Health System in Miami and was lead author of this study.  She stated:

“Dermatologists and clinicians had an idea of what the Zika rash looked like, but it wasn’t until the patient presented here that we were able to get an up-close and personal look and photograph the skin.
“Any doctor now has a visual sense of the rash to properly diagnose and refer patients to the appropriate specialists.”


As of January 4, 2017 the CDC reports the United States has 216 locally acquired mosquito-borne cases reported (210 in Florida and 6 in Texas).

The CDC’s breakdown includes the following:

US States

  • Locally acquired mosquito-borne cases reported: 216
  • Travel-associated cases reported: 4,618
  • Laboratory acquired cases reported:  1
  • Total: 4,835
    • Sexually transmitted: 38

US Territories

  • Locally acquired cases reported: 35,021
  • Travel-associated cases reported: 131
  • Total: 35,152
  • *Sexually transmitted cases are not reported for US territories because with local transmission of Zika virus it is not possible to determine whether infection occurred due to mosquito-borne or sexual transmission.


In December, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared the state free of locally transmitted Zika.  We’re hoping this good news persists when the Spring and Summer returns.



                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician



Nationally Syndicated Radio Host, Board Certified Family Medicine Physician, Assistant Professor Touro University Nevada

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