1.23.16 – (LAA/LUS) – Zika Virus Spreads to New Regions

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

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Zika Virus Spreads to New RegionsLAA/LUS

The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease. An individual becomes infected by the bite of an infected mosquito. Zika produces very mild symptoms — rash, headaches, joint, and fever — that usually show up between three (3) and twelve (12) days after a mosquito bite. These symptoms usually go away within a week, and one (1) in four (4) people don’t even develop any symptoms after being infected with the virus. Health officials estimate that the virus would be gone from a person’s system by twenty-one (21) days. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a Level 2 Alert for anyone traveling to and from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, as well as Samoa and Cape Verde, to practice enhanced precautions to avoid being infected with the Zika virus.

While illness from the virus is usually mild, global health officials are worried about a possible link between Zika virus infection in pregnant women and subsequent birth defects. If a pregnant woman travels to an area with Zika virus transmission, she should be advised to strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites.

Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite both indoors and outdoors, mostly during the daytime; therefore, it is important to ensure protection from mosquitoes throughout the entire day. Mosquito prevention strategies include wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)–registered insect repellents, using permethrin-treated clothing and gear, and staying and sleeping in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms. When used as directed on the product label, insect repellents containing the following are safe for pregnant women:

  • DEET
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin. Products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, and Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD (Products containing OLE include Repel and Off! Botanicals)
  • IR3535 (Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart)

U.S. infections reported in recent days – one (1) in Texas, one (1) in Hawaii, two (2) in Illinois and three (3) in Florida – involved individuals who had traveled to countries where the virus is endemic. If you feel you may have contracted Zika, and have developed a fever with a rash, joint pain, or red eyes, talk to your healthcare provider immediately.

Catherine Sharp
APFA National Health Chair


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