Health Department Updates Guidance on Zika Virus Prevention
Pregnant women, those considering becoming pregnant and men with pregnant partners should postpone travel to affected countries. Please visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/zika-virus-caribbean for the list of affected countries. At this time, all cases within the United States have been travel-related. Due to cold weather conditions, there is no mosquito activity in New Jersey. However, as warm weather approaches, local health officials are working on prevention efforts. The Health Department’s new guidance incorporates the most up to date recommendations from the state Health Department and CDC. As new information becomes available we will update our guidance accordingly.
New recommendations for pregnant women, and men with pregnant sex partners who live in or have traveled to Zika-affected areas:
- Pregnant women and their male sex partners should discuss the male partner’s potential exposures and history of Zika-like illness with the pregnant woman’s health care provider.
- Men with a pregnant sex partner who reside in or have traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission and their pregnant sex partners should consistently and correctly use condoms during sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) or abstain from sexual activity for the duration of the pregnancy. Consistent and correct use of latex condoms reduces the risk of sexual transmission of many infections, including those caused by other viruses.
- New recommendations for non-pregnant women, and men with non-pregnant sexual partners who live in or have traveled to Zika-affected areas:
- Couples in which a man resides in or has traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission who are concerned about sexual transmission of Zika virus may consider using condoms consistently and correctly during sex or abstaining from sexual activity.
- Couples may consider several factors when making this complex and personal decision to abstain or use condoms:
- Zika virus illness is usually mild. An estimated 4 out of 5 people infected never have symptoms; when symptoms occur they may last from several days to one week.
- The risk of Zika infection depends on how long and how much a person has been exposed to infected mosquitoes, and the steps taken to prevent mosquito bites while in an affected area.
- The science is not clear on how long the risk should be avoided. Research is now underway to answer this question as soon as possible. If you are trying to get pregnant, you may consider testing in discussion with your health care provider.
- If you have recently traveled to an affected areas or in sexual contact with someone who has been to an affected area, the CDC asks that you refrain from blood donation
- For those who are traveling, here are measures to prevent mosquito bites in areas with active mosquito infestations:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated for effectiveness.
Lisa A. Gulla, Health Officer