VIGILINT recommends global travelers take extra precautions against the Zika virus when traveling to impacted areas including South America, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Prevention strategies include:
- Use insect repellent that contains 20-30% DEET
- Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants
- Wear insect repellent clothing treated with Permethrin
- Avoid open-toed shoes
- Wear socks that cover your leg to mid-calf
- Stay inside between dusk to dawn
- When outside avoid shady areas, moist areas and areas sheltered from the wind
- Stay in air conditioned environments with window and door screens
While Zika is primarily transmitted by mosquito it is also sexually transmitted and transmitted via blood. Male and female travelers who become infected with the virus may transmit the disease to their partners via sexual contact. Because there is an association between the virus and birth abnormalities, male and female travelers should utilize safer sex prevention methods for up to six months after travel.
“The best protection against the Zika virus is preventing mosquito bites but special concern should be given to sexual transmission,” stated Dr. Sean Siler, VIGILINT President and Chief Medical Officer. “All prevention strategies must be used in combination with one another in order to be effective. It is far better to be overprotected than to place yourself at risk of exposure.”
VIGILINT continues to enhance surveillance of the Zika virus and potential complications.