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Health Officials Urge Travelers, Homeowners To Take Precautions Against Zika Virus
Updated February 5, 2016 7:39 AM | Filed under: Health
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - State health officials are urging Indiana residents, especially pregnant women, to use caution when traveling to countries where the Zika virus has been detected and to take steps to protect against mosquito-borne illnesses at home and abroad.

Zika virus is primarily spread to people through bites from an infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there have been isolated cases of spread through sexual contact with an infected individual. There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika virus. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (pink eye). The illness is usually mild, and many people who are infected do not show symptoms.

However, the CDC has urged pregnant women to consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is occurring because of concerns about possible links to birth defects and other poor birth outcomes in women infected with Zika virus. A list of affected locations is available at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information. The CDC is also expected to provide guidance on sexual transmission.

Indiana has not reported any documented cases of Zika virus infection, but health officials expect to see some cases as residents return from travel to affected regions. The Indiana State Department of Health conducts ongoing surveillance for human cases of mosquito-borne diseases, including Zika, and has informed medical providers statewide about the virus.

"Diseases do not recognize borders, especially when they're transmitted by insects," said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. "The best defense against Zika virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses is to protect yourself from being bitten and eliminate breeding grounds. Women should consult a medical provider before traveling to an affected area if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant."


  • Residents can protect themselves from mosquito-borne illnesses by following the steps below:

  • When possible, avoid places and times when mosquitoes bite.

  • Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535.

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

  • Stay and sleep in screened or air-conditioned rooms. Ensure all screens are in good repair.

  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

  • Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535.

  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear.

  • Eliminate standing water in and around homes and ensure that water is removed weekly from potential breeding grounds, such as tires, buckets, pet bowls, birdbaths, rain gutters and pool covers.

  • Repair cracks or gaps in septic tanks and cover open vents or plumbing pipes.

For more information, visit the Indiana State Department of Health's Zika page at http://in.gov/isdh/26910.htm. Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov for important health and safety information, or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.



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