With the outbreak and spread of the Zika infection worldwide, we would like to share our recommendations. These are presented in more detail on the Center for Disease Control website (www.dcd.gov/zika). This is especially important if you are pregnant or attempting conception. If you are infected with this virus in pregnancy, your baby may have abnormal brain development. There is no vaccine or treatment for this infection.
How is the virus spread?
Usually it is spread by a bite from an infected mosquito, but not all mosquitoes carry the disease. It can also be spread by vaginal, oral or anal intercourse, and blood transfusions.
What are the symptoms?
Fever with rash, joint pains, muscle aches and headaches, but only 20% of people have these symptoms; most people have none.
Where do the infectious mosquitoes live?
By late January, there were at least 25 countries with infectious mosquitoes.
The Caribbean: Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
Pacific Islands: American Samoa, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga
South America: Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela
What about the U.S.?
So far, there have only been travel-associated Zika transmissions. The infectious virus has not been transmitted by mosquitoes in the U.S.
If I have a trip planned to one of these locations and am trying to become, or am pregnant, what should I do?
We recommend canceling the trip (new recommendation).
If you must go, make sure you use an EPA-registered insect repellent, such as DEET (safe in pregnancy!), keep as much of your body covered as possible, wear permethrin-treated clothing, and stay indoors.
Once I get back from my trip, how long until I can test for the virus?
2-12 weeks from your return to the U.S.
How long is a person infectious?
Only as long as the virus is circulating in your body, typically only about a week.
If I am infected, how long should I wait to attempt pregnancy?
We recommend waiting at least a month after the virus is cleared from your system.
If I was infected in the past, can my baby be affected?
No, we do not think so.