How to Protect Against Zika Virus

How to protect against Zika virus

In an effort to provide our Support Circle clients with information on Zika virus, a virus that has garnered much media attention due to the potential effects on the fetus, we have compiled this list of most common questions and answers from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

What is Zika virus?

Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.

Protect against Zika virus

Men with a pregnant partner should use a condom or abstain from sex for the duration of the pregnancy if they have visited, or live in, an area where mosquitos are spreading the Zika virus, which is strongly suspected of causing microcephaly in newborns, the CDC advises.

There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites. Here’s how:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women may use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents(bug spray). Always follow the instructions on the label and reapply every few hours. The effectiveness of non-EPA registered insect repellents is NOT known. An example of a natural product with an EPA registration is oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites, like containers with standing water.

What we know about Zika virus

  • Zika can be spread from a mother to her fetus during pregnancy.
  • Infection during pregnancies may be linked to birth defects in babies.
  • Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.
  • There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

What we do not know about Zika virus

  • If there is a safe time during pregnancy to travel to an area infected with Zika virus.
  • If you do travel and are bitten, how likely you are to be infected.
  • If you do travel and are bitten, how likely it is that your baby will have birth defects from the infection.

How worried should I be in the San Francisco Bay Area?

No local mosquito-borne Zika virus disease cases have been reported in the continental U.S., but there have been travel-associated cases in some areas of the US, including California. With the recent outbreaks, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase. For this reason, men with a pregnant partner should use a condom or abstain from sex for the duration of the pregnancy if they have visited, or live in, an area where mosquitos are spreading the Zika virus.

Update July 2016: There is an increased need for women in the U.S. to take precautions to reduce their chances of becoming infected with Zika if pregnant. According to the CDC, there have been over 1,300 reported cases of Zika virus in the United States, including 14 sexually transmitted cases. In U.S. Territories, there have been over 2,900 reported cases of Zika infected people. There have been over 645 cases of pregnant women reported to have Zika in the United States and U.S. Territories.

How do I find the most recent CDC updates?

Visit the CDC’s website for more information about the Zika virus: http://www.cdc.gov/zika.

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