Health Advisory: Zika Virus News

The Washington State Department of Health recently released information about the Zika virus. Students, faculty and staff should be familiar with the virus if they plan to travel to an impacted country.

Washington state does not have the type of mosquitoes that carry Zika virus, however people who travel to and from areas where Zika is spreading can return with Zika illness. Only 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will have any symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.

Here’s what you need to know about Zika virus:

  • It’s spreading across tropical regions.
  • It’s generally not a significant health threat, unless you are pregnant or become pregnant when exposed, or become pregnant from a male partner who is infected with the virus.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have an “alert level 2” in effect, urging all travelers to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

To prevent Zika or other mosquito-spread diseases, travelers should avoid mosquito bites:

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Always use as directed.
  • Cover skin – wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Most repellents, can be used safely by most people, but be sure to check the label and follow instructions.
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (like boots, pants, sock and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear, or treat them yourself.
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.

For more information about Zika virus, visit www.doh.wa.gov/zika

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