HARRISBURG, Pa., March 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy today advised commonwealth residents planning spring break trips to Mexico, the Caribbean or other areas where the Zika virus has been found to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommendations to prevent contracting and spreading this potentially harmful infection.
"Mosquitos remain the primary source of Zika virus, so we urge all travelers to affected areas to take steps to avoid being bitten," said Secretary Murphy. "In addition, the infection has also been found to spread through sexual contact."
The CDC advises men who have traveled to the Zika-affected areas to wear condoms consistently and correctly during sex to avoid spreading the virus to their partners. This is especially important for men whose partners are pregnant women or women who are of childbearing age, as the Zika virus has been linked to potentially severe birth defects in babies born to women who had the illness during pregnancy.
Until more is known, the CDC recommends that all pregnant women consider postponing travel to Zika-affected areas. Women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or may be pregnant and must travel to these areas should first consult with their health care provider.
Zika is a generally mild illness, and most individuals do not have any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can include fever, rash, joint or muscle pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), or headache, and last from several days to one week.
Because there currently is no vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus, the best way to avoid contracting the virus when traveling to an affected area is to prevent mosquito bites by:
- Using an insect repellent containing DEET;
- Wearing light-colored clothes that cover as much of the body as possible;
- Using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows; and
- Sleeping under mosquito nets.
If you develop symptoms within two weeks of visiting a Zika-affected country, contact your health care provider.
Visit www.zika.pa.gov for more Zika virus information.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Amy Worden or Penny Ickes, DOH, 717-787-1783
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health