Health department cautions travelers on Zika virus

Courtesy CDC/ Cynthia Goldsmith ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy CDC/ Cynthia Goldsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Kansas City Health Department is joining others in the region to warn travelers on ways to prevent infection with the Zika virus.

“This is an evolving situation,” said Rex Archer, director of the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department, in a news release. “As we learn more about the Zika virus and how it is being transmitted, we recommend travelers prevent mosquito bites and stay informed through the CDC’s website and their local health departments.”

Archer said travelers should follow the CDC’s updated travel guidelines, which include a recommendation that pregnant women avoid travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission.

Health care providers are also urged to counsel patients who are planning to travel to endemic areas about the prevention of mosquito bites and seek Zika virus testing for patients with Zika virus symptoms who have recently traveled to areas with Zika infection, the department said.

Here are some of the tips local health officials are passing along:

The best way to prevent Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites. Those who are traveling to affected areas should apply sunscreen first and then repellent. Other prevention tips include:

  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants,
  • Using EPA-registered insect repellents,
  • Using permethrin-treated clothing,
  • Staying and sleeping in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms,
  • Avoiding or limiting outdoor activities during peak mosquito times.

Zika Fast Facts:

  • Zika is primarily spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.
  • The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Four out of five people infected with Zika don’t know they are infected. When people do get symptoms, many are not sick enough to seek medical care.
  • Zika can be sexually transmitted. Men with pregnant sex partners who have traveled to or lived in an area with Zika virus transmission should use condoms or abstain from sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
  • Zika infection during pregnancy may be linked to birth defects. Pregnant women should delay travel to areas where Zika is spreading.
  • See a health care provider if you develop a fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis (red, watery eyes) during a trip or within two weeks after traveling to a place with Zika.

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