Outbreaks of Zika virus infection have occurred in many parts of the world, and travel-related cases have been diagnosed in Virginia. Because the mosquitoes that can transmit the virus are found in the U.S., including Virginia, the Lord Fairfax Health District is spreading the word about how to protect yourself and your family.
The Disease: Mosquitoes can get infected with Zika virus when they bite a person who carries the virus, and then can infect other people by biting them. Four out of five people who are infected do NOT become sick. For those who do, the most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Zika has been linked to birth defects, such as microcephaly (small head) in babies and other syndromes in a small number of patients.
Prevention: Acting Lord Fairfax Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend advises, “There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Zika. So it is important that we all do our part to prevent mosquitoes by eliminating their breeding sites and protecting ourselves and our families from mosquito bites.”
To fight Zika:
1. Cover and repel. Wear long sleeves, pants, shoes and a hat. Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered repellent according to label directions.
2. Remove collected water. Remember: tip, toss and cover! Mosquitoes can breed in containers of water as small as a bottle cap. Inspect your yard/grounds for any containers that can hold water and empty them. Throw it away if it is trash or cover it to prevent water from gathering.
3. Keep mosquitoes out of your home. Keep windows closed or make sure they have screens that keep mosquitoes outside.
4. Use condoms if pregnant. Zika can be sexually transmitted.
More Information: Visit www.ZikaVA.org or www.cdc.gov/zika.