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Health Alerts: Zika Virus

If you are traveling outside the United States, please review the information about what to do before, during, and after your travels.

Before travel, particularly to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America or South America, check to see if Zika virus is impacting the destination area.

  • This is especially important for pregnant women (in any trimester) or women who are trying to become pregnant. They are advised to consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus is spreading.

During travel, all travelers, particularly pregnant women, should take steps to avoid mosquito bites. These include taking the following actions:

  • Choose an EPA-registered insect repellant and use according to the product label. Use repellent day and night because the mosquito species that transmit Zika virus are daytime biters that will also enter buildings and bite at night.
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing.
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long sleeves, long pants, and hats.
  • Sleep indoors in rooms with screened windows or air-conditioning, or use a bed net if you sleep in a room that is exposed to the outdoors.

After travel, if you develop signs or symptoms consistent with Zika (e.g., fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes), contact your healthcare provider and tell him or her about your travel. If a clinician suspects Zika infection, he or she should report this to the local health department.

  • If you have fever or pain, take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to relieve your symptoms. Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
  • Get lots of rest and drink plenty of liquids.
  • People with Zika should also stay indoors or wear protective clothing and mosquito repellent for the first week after they begin to feel sick. These measures will help prevent local mosquitoes from biting them and potentially spreading the virus to others in the community.
  • Pregnant women who have a male partner who lives in or has returned from an area where Zika virus is spreading should abstain from sex or use condoms consistently and correctly for the duration of the pregnancy.