Advisory to Women of Child Bearing Age and Pregnant Women Who Travel to Countries with Ongoing Transmission of Zika Virus

New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued guidance regarding the risk of Zika virus infection to pregnant women who travel to countries and/or territories that currently have on going transmission of Zika virus. These areas include: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Samoa, Suriname, Venezuela, and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Dr. Indu Gupta, Commissioner of Health, explained that Zika virus is transmitted by the bite of the day time mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and probably Aedes albopictus. These mosquitoes can be found in southern states such as Florida, Texas (A. aegypti), and up the east coast to New Jersey (A. albopictus). There is no local transmission of Zika virus in the continental United States. Most of the cases in the U.S. are in returning travelers from outbreak countries.

Symptoms of Zika virus infection include fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes. There is no specific treatment for Zika infection. In most cases, Zika virus infection is a mild illness. However, in the current outbreak, Zika virus infections have been confirmed in fetal losses and several newborns with microcephaly (small head because of underdeveloped brain) in women infected during pregnancy.  Zika virus infection should be considered in returning travelers who become ill within 14 days of travel to areas with Zika virus transmission.

The Onondaga County Health Department advises women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, if at all possible, to postpone travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing until further notice. For those who have to travel to areas with active ongoing Zika virus transmission, it is recommended that you protect yourself against mosquito bites, both indoors and outdoors, by staying in dwellings with good screened windows and doors, by safe and consistent use of insect repellents, and by always wearing protective clothing such as long pants, long sleeved shirts, and socks to cover all exposed skin. If you are sick with a febrile illness (illness with no known cause) within 14 days of travel to any of the areas with ongoing transmission of Zika virus, please seek health care immediately and inform the provider of your travel history. For more information please visit
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