Zika Virus & Mosquitoes

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Recently, the CDC issued a Level 2 travel alert related to Zika virus, urging people to take extra precautions when traveling to Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites, and includes common symptoms of fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Concerns about Zika virus came to light after reports in Brazil of microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected while pregnant. Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly.

As of February 3, 2016, a total of 35 travel-related cases of Zika virus had been reported in the United States. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat the virus, but you can protect yourself from contracting the disease when traveling by always using an insect repellant containing DEET, wearing longer layers when outside and making sure wherever you’re staying has screens on the doors and windows.