People who are traveling or returning from Zika affected areas should take steps to avoid catching Zika or infecting others.
What is it?Zika is a virus that is spread by mosquitoes that are not found in Washington. It can also be spread by sexual contact. It usually causes no illness or only a very mild illness in healthy adults and children. However, Zika virus can cause severe birth defects if a pregnant woman catches the virus. Also, a very small number of people who contract Zika can have more serious illnesses of the brain and nervous system, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome.
What Are the Symptoms?
Zika virus is almost always a very mild illness. About 80 percent of those infected never show symptoms of the disease, while about 1 in 5 people will have only mild symptoms, including fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes that last a few days to a week.
How Does it Spread?
- Mosquitoes that are not found in Washington State (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus)
- Sexual Transmission
- Blood Transfusion
Where are the areas where Zika is spreading?
For a current list of countries and areas that are affected by Zika, see the Active Countries list from CDC.
Are there warnings for travel to Zika-affected areas?
Yes. Because of the danger to a developing fetus, women who are pregnant should not travel to areas where Zika virus is active. For more information about pregnancy and travel, see CDC's pregnancy travel fact sheet.
Women who are planning a pregnancy and thinking about traveling to a ZIka-affected area should talk to their health care provider. Zika virus can remain in the body for several weeks to months after infection in both men and women, so it is recommended that couples delay pregnancy after travel to Zika-affected areas.
Sexual partners of pregnant women, or couples with a partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika should take steps to protect their partner. Find more information from CDC regarding Zika and sexual health.
If I do travel to a Zika-affected area, how can I protect my family?
- Use an affective insect repellent. Active ingredients include DEET, picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Barepel and icaridin), oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-methane-diol (PMD). Higher percentages of active ingredients provide longer protection. Follow the directions carefully and reapply frequently. Do not use on babies under age 2 months, and do not use OLE or PMD on children under age 3 years.
- Wear long pants and long sleeves.
- Stay in places with air conditioning and window screens.
- Remove standing water.
- For more information about protecting against mosquito bites, see the CDC's mosquito bite fact sheet.
- For other excellent CDC resources on Zika such as printable materials, click here.
Public Health Role in Any Disease Outbreak
Whether it's flu, measles, or last year's efforts to monitor travelers from Ebola affected countries returning here, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department continuously conducts work to protect and improve the health of Pierce County communities. We do this work every day:
- Disease tracking.
- Case follow up.
- Contact follow up.
- Implementing control measures.
- Coordinate response activities.
- Guidance for health care providers.
- Public education and information.