(Salt Lake City) – Utah public health officials are urging Utahns returning from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil and other countries with ongoing Zika virus transmission to take certain precautions to prevent illness. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/in
dex.html for the most current list of countries affected by Zika virus.
Zika virus is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). And while there is no evidence these mosquitoes are currently in Utah, residents should still take precautions to reduce the potential spread of Zika virus. Unlike the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus, mosquitoes infected with Zika virus can spread the virus to other people through bites. Even if someone doesn’t feel sick, travelers returning to the United States from an area with Zika virus should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for three weeks, such as using insect repellant with DEET and removing breeding areas from around homes.
Zika can also be passed through sex from a person who has Zika virus to his or her sex partners. (Sex includes vaginal, anal, and oral sex.) Only people with sex partners who live in or traveled to an area with Zika virus are at risk for getting Zika virus infection through sex.
Zika virus can be passed through sex, before symptoms start, while a person has symptoms, and after their symptoms end. Though not well documented, the virus may also be passed by a person who carries the virus, but never develops symptoms.
Most people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms
such as fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. But a pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her
fetus that can result in severe birth defects, such as microcephaly (small head and brain) and
other severe brain defects that may lead to long-term developmental problems. Infection during pregnancy can also increase the chance for miscarriage, eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth.
It is not yet known how often Zika infected pregnancies will result in problems. There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus, and no specific medical treatment for those who are infected.
The CDC recommends special precautions for the following groups:
• Women who are pregnant:
If you have a partner who lives in or has traveled to Brazil or any other Zika-affected area, either use condoms (or other barriers to prevent infection) or do not have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) during your pregnancy.
• Women who are trying to become pregnant:
o Before you or your partner travel or after returning from a Zika-affected area, talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection.
o Recommendations for people who DO NOT live in an area with Zika virus and had possible exposure through recent travel or unprotected sex with a man infected with Zika virus:
Zika Symptoms - Wait at least 6 months after your symptoms start before trying to get pregnant.
No Zika Symptoms - Wait at least 8 weeks after you may have been exposed to Zika before trying to get pregnant.
For women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant and have questions about Zika virus, please contact the MotherToBaby program at 1-800-822-2229, text 855-999-3525, chat live or email www.MotherToBaby.org or visit http://health.utah.gov/zika.