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Mosquito-borne Zika virus threatens

Health and Travel Advisory: Extra precautions urged for travelers to Zika regions in Latin America, Caribbean to avoid mosquito bites during day and night COMPTON (MNS) – Certain regions of Latin America and the Caribbean have

Health and Travel Advisory: Extra precautions urged for travelers to Zika regions in Latin America, Caribbean to avoid mosquito bites during day and night

COMPTON (MNS) – Certain regions of Latin America and the Caribbean have experienced a significant increase in Zika infections in 2015-2016. For those traveling to an area with Zika, the California Department of Public Health recommends taking appropriate precautions for avoiding mosquito bites during the day and at night.

Since the emergence of Zika in Brazil in 2015, the virus has spread rapidly throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently, Zika outbreaks are ongoing in 59 countries and territories, including in Mexico, where the highest numbers of cases are in the southern part of the country. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers any travel to Mexico to be a risk for Zika infection.

Pregnant women should avoid travel to regions with Zika virus

Individuals have been infected in popular tourist destinations including Cancun, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa, and Mazatlan. While no local transmission has been reported in the border region of Baja California, the mosquitoes that transmit Zika virus are present and local transmission are possible in the region.

Active Zika virus transmission in the United States and U.S. territories has only been identified in Miami-Dade County in Florida, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects and poor pregnancy outcomes. Zika virus infection has also been tied to Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare disorder that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis.

Although primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These two mosquitoes are aggressive day-biters that can potentially transmit the virus after biting an infected person. These mosquitoes typically develop in small, water-filled containers. The presence of Aedes aegypti has been established in Mexican cities along the California-Mexico border, such as Mexicali, Tecate, and Tijuana.

Most people infected with Zika virus have no symptoms. But of those who do, the most common are fever, rash, joint pain, and/or red eyes. Symptoms usually begin a few days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito or having unprotected sex with an infected partner. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.

Zika can be sexually transmitted

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. Pregnant women should not travel to Zika-affected areas. Additionally, pregnant women should abstain from sex or use condoms with partners who have traveled to an area with Zika for the duration of the pregnancy.

There are no vaccines to prevent Zika. Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to avoid becoming infected.

  • Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol for long lasting protection. If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
  • When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If you are unable to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
  • Help reduce the number of mosquitoes outside your home or hotel room by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots or buckets. Important Information for Pregnant Women Pregnant women should take special precautions to protect themselves from Zika virus.
  • If you are pregnant, do not travel to areas with Zika.
  • If you are pregnant and must travel, talk to your healthcare provider before traveling, and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during your trip.
  • Because sexual transmission of Zika is possible, pregnant women whose partners have traveled to an area with Zika should either not have sex, or use condoms consistently and correctly for the duration of the pregnancy.
  • If you are pregnant and were potentially exposed to Zika (either through travel to an area with Zika or through unprotected sex with someone who traveled to an area with Zika), talk to your healthcare provider regardless of whether or not you have Zika symptoms.

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2016/the-pre-travel-consultation/protection-against-mosquitoesticks-other-arthropods Information on invasive Aedes mosquitoes in California:

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/HEALTHINFO/DISCOND/Pages/Aedes-albopictus-and-Aedes-aegypti-Mosquitoes.aspx

 

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