Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Travel Warnings Issued about Zika Virus

Jefferson County Public Health in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is advising the public that amid concerns about the potential association between Zika virus infection and birth defects in Brazil, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued and is updating travel warnings about areas with ongoing risk. Zika virus transmission now affects more than 20 countries and territories in the Americas. People in the U.S. who have had the virus all traveled to areas where it is common. 
Women who are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant should consider postponing travel to those places and check the CDC website for current alerts.
Zika virus is carried by the Aedes species mosquitoes. These mosquitoes pick up the virus when they bite an infected person and spread it by biting other people. The primary mosquito for Zika virus, Aedes aegypti, doesn’t live in Colorado, because our state is too dry and cold for them. The other mosquito that might transmit Zika, Aedes albopictus, has a larger range, but also does not live in Colorado.
Zika virus is usually mild, and symptoms last only a few days to a week. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). You can prevent illness by preventing mosquito bites. People traveling to areas where Zika has been transmitted should use an EPA-registered repellent and apply and re-apply products according to the label directions. Examples of EPA-registered repellents are DEET, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and picaridin. The mosquitoes that carry Zika are aggressive daytime biters and will bite indoors and out.
Travelers who think they may be ill with Zika should consult their health care provider. Zika virus testing is available for symptomatic people only from the CDC and four U.S. state health departments. Colorado’s state laboratory is not testing for Zika virus at this time, but will help health care providers send samples for testing.

If you have more questions about Zika, visit the CDC web page, the CDPHE web page or contact COHelp at 877-462-2911.  

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