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Families or students planning spring vacations should be aware of Zika risk

Mon March 7, 2016

Families or college students planning spring break vacations should be aware of the risk of Zika virus disease and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. No vaccine exists to prevent Zika virus disease.

The list of countries with Zika cases continues to grow, as well as some U.S. territories. Some Zika cases have been reported in the United States, and so far all of those are travel-associated. Check with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention for the latest information on prevention and lists of areas with Zika cases: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html
When traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses spread by mosquitoes are found, take the following steps: 

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
  • Always follow the product label instructions.
  • Reapply insect repellent as directed.
  • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
  • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
  • Sexual transmission of Zika virus from a man to his sex partners is possible. If you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex with a male partner while traveling, you should use condoms.

If you have a baby or child:

  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
  • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, or
  • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
  • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child's hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
  • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child's face.
  • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items. Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
  • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
  • Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.

More information on how to build your own Zika Prevention Kit is available at:  http://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevention-kit.html

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