Pregnant Women should Avoid Travel to Zika-Affected Areas

Monday, December 19, 2016 - 8:30am

All Travelers Should Take Steps to Prevent Mosquito Bites

As many Wisconsinites are making plans to escape winter, it is important to review current travel recommendations and plan accordingly.
Despite declining national news coverage, Zika, a virus primarily transmitted via mosquito bites, is still a very present threat. While the virus is mild in most cases, Zika infection in pregnant women is known to cause severe birth defects. Pregnant women, or women trying to become pregnant, should not travel to a Zika-affected area. See CDC map.
Transmission of the Zika virus can also occur through unprotected sex with a Zika-infected person. Women returning from travel should use condoms and birth control for eight weeks and men returning should use condoms for six months to avoid spreading the virus. Women with a male partner who has traveled in the past six months should use birth control to avoid pregnancy. These guidelines apply regardless of whether the traveler has any symptoms. 
“Fourteen Dane County residents have been diagnosed with Zika virus -- all associated with foreign travel. If you are traveling to a Zika-affected area it is important to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites, and practice safe sex to reduce the spread of the virus,” says Amanda Kita-Yarbro, Epidemiologist at Public Health Madison & Dane County.  
Precautions to prevent mosquito bites include: wearing protective clothing, using mosquito repellent and using mosquito nets. Precautions should be taken all day, as mosquitoes that can carry Zika are daytime biters.
“It’s always a good idea to consult an area travel clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travelers’ Health website well in advance of foreign travel for guidance on staying healthy during and after your trip,” says Kita-Yarbro.
Returning travelers with symptoms of illness should contact a healthcare provider to let them know when and where they traveled and discuss testing.
For more information about PHMDC efforts to manage Zika.

For detailed Zika information from the CDC.
PHMDC will continue to inform the public on our virus monitoring efforts when new information becomes available.


Health & Safety