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January 29, 2016

Travel Warning Issued for Pregnant Women

The New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued guidance to pregnant women planning to travel to countries and territories that are currently reporting transmission of Zika virus. Pregnant women in any trimester and women planning to become pregnant should consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus transmitted to people through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti and possibly the Aedes albopictus mosquito. These types of mosquitoes are also known to transmit dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever and are generally found in tropical regions, but have been seen in southern states such as Florida and Texas. These species are also found along the eastern coast of the United States, including limited geographic locations in southeastern New York.

Transmission of the virus has been reported in many countries and territories in the Americas including Puerto Rico. Transmission of the virus has not yet been documented in the continental United States; however, the viral infection has been reported in travelers returning to the United States from countries with Zika virus, including Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Samoa, Suriname, US Virgin Islands and Venezuela. For the most current information on countries identified with Zika virus, visit the CDC Traveler's Health site at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information.

Symptoms include a mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis (pink eye), along with muscle and joint pain. The symptoms of the virus are usually mild and can last two to seven days. Most Zika virus infections cause mild illness; but in recent outbreaks Zika virus is confirmed to be related with fetal losses and newborn microcephaly (abnormally small head with a small braincase).

"Anyone can contract the virus, but pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant should take extra precautions," said Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County Director of Public Health. "It is advised that these women postpone travel if possible. For those that have to travel to these areas, the following steps are recommended to protect you from mosquito bites:

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks.

  • Use an EPA-registered insect repellent according to the product label.

  • Stay and sleep in screened or air-conditioned rooms."

  • Anyone that develops symptoms within 14 days of returning home from traveling in an area with ongoing transmission of Zika virus should seek health care immediately. Be sure to tell your health care provider where you traveled

    For more information contact the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3547 or visit www.cdc.gov


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