Over the last two weeks, the number of Zika cases spreading in Sonora, Mexico has increased significantly, prompting officials from Pinal County Public Health Services District to remind women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to avoid travel to Zika-affected areas.
“Zika continues to be a public health concern. It may cause severe birth defects to an unborn child, including microcephaly, a condition that affects the baby’s brain development,” said Dr. Shauna McIsaac, Director of Pinal County Public Health Services District. “We recommend pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant avoid traveling to areas with Zika transmission. Zika can also be sexually-transmitted and pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant should avoid having unprotected sex with someone who has traveled to an area with Zika within the prior 3 months. Any pregnant woman or woman who becomes pregnant with a recent visit to a Zika-affected area, should consult with her healthcare provider.”
Zika symptoms usually start 3-14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and can last for several days to a week; however, only 1 out of 5 people with Zika will have symptoms. The people who do become sick may develop fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, or muscle pain. It typically causes a mild illness with symptoms lasting a few days to a week.
To date, all Zika cases in Arizona have been detected in someone who traveled to a Zika-affected area. Pinal County has not had any reports of Zika this year, and Arizona has had one travel associated case of Zika this year. Mosquito-borne Zika transmission has not been documented in Arizona.
CDC recommends that all Individuals returning from Zika-affected areas should protect themselves from mosquito bites for at least 21 days (3 weeks) to prevent further mosquito bites and community spread of the virus. Men returning from Zika-affected areas should also use condoms for at least 3 months when having sex as Zika can be transmitted sexually regardless of symptoms.
CDC recommends that pregnant women who travel to or live in areas with Zika avoid unprotected sexual contact for the duration of pregnancy or use condoms to prevent Zika transmission. For those who plan to conceive and travel to or live in areas with Zika, CDC recommends waiting a minimum of 8 weeks after symptom onset or date of last possible exposure to Zika, and men should wait a minimum of 3 months after symptom onset or date of last possible exposure to Zika.
The best way to prevent mosquito bites is by staying indoors when possible, and keeping windows closed or screened. If you must be outside when mosquitoes are present, wear long sleeves and pants and use an EPA-registered and CDC recommended insect repellent according to the label. Additionally, any outdoor water containers (even small ones like toys left out in the rain) should be emptied and scrubbed twice a week so mosquitoes cannot breed in them.
For more information, visit www.azhealth.gov/zika or http://www.cdc.gov/zika/.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS