(RxWiki News) Zika has been in the news since early 2016, but a lot has transpired since the virus first made headlines. Are you up to date on the latest news?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and South America. Zika may not be limited to these areas for much longer, health officials say.
Furthermore, there has been travel-related transmission (imported cases) and local mosquito-borne transmission in other areas of the world. An imported case is when a person is bitten by an infected mosquito while traveling. Local transmission is when a mosquito bites a person who is sick, and the mosquito becomes infected and then bites a healthy person, who then becomes sick.
As of April 2016, the following areas have active Zika virus transmission:
- American Samoa
- Cape Verde
- Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, US territory
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- French Guiana
- Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia
- Marshall Islands
- New Caledonia
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Martin
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Sint Maarten
- Trinidad and Tobago
- U.S. Virgin Islands
What's the takeaway? If you are planning to travel to any of these areas, the best way to protect yourself is to prevent mosquito bites.
According to the CDC, following these tips can help keep you safe:
- Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants to keep skin from being exposed.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. (If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a young child, not all products may be safe. Speak to your doctor to determine the best product for you.)
- Treat your clothes and gear with permethrin.
- Try to stay in a place with air conditioning, windows and door screens. If these conditions are not available, always sleep with a mosquito net.
Before traveling, speak to your doctor on how best to prepare for your trip.