Traveling? Here’s the Update on Zika
In light of this persistent COVID-19 pandemic, you might struggle to even remember that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared another global public health emergency back in 2016. Not long after, however, the Zika virus became old news and really only features now if the topic of travel comes up.
On that note, if you are planning to travel, do you need to worry about exposure to the Zika virus? How relevant is this disease on the world’s stage?
What is the Zika Virus?
Like many dangerous diseases, the Zika virus is transmitted by mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are carriers of the disease and first become infected with Zika after biting a person who has the disease in their blood, which usually occurs during the first week of the infection.
The virus presents through symptoms such as conjunctivitis, fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, and rash. Symptoms are typically mild and go away on their own. Very rarely do people infected with Zika require hospitalization and deaths from the virus are exceptionally rare. For these reasons, along with the lookalike symptoms associated with other common viruses, most people never know that they have Zika.
Who Needs To Worry?
However, the people that do need to worry about Zika are pregnant women, women trying to get pregnant, and their partners. Zika can also be transmitted through intercourse, potentially threatening a growing fetus if a woman becomes infected as Zika can cause serious birth defects.
By now, most people around here know that Zika is not much of a threat… at least for those that live locally. Zika has never been reported to be transmitted in Hawaii or Alaska and we have not seen a reported case in the entire US since 2019.
What if you’re looking to travel somewhere where Zika has been reported?
- Try and prevent mosquito bites during travel, as well as a few weeks after
- If you think you’re exhibiting symptoms of the Zika virus, contact your healthcare provider
- Avoid unnecessary travel to an area where Zika has been reported, especially if you or your partner are trying to get pregnant
Remember that, unless you’re in one of the few mosquito-less countries, it’s important to take proper precautions against mosquitoes whenever the temperature is above 50 degrees.
Reminder: always carry mosquito repellent with you when traveling someplace warm. Not only are mosquito bites irritating, they can present the risk of exposure to Zika virus and other diseases.
It’s never too early to start thinking about how to protect yourself and loved ones come next mosquito season. Click here to sign up now for mosquito & tick control at your home.