Take Zika-related Travel Warnings Seriously


Wyoming Department Of Health 4-13,2016

While Zika virus is highly unlikely to take hold within or near Wyoming, a Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) official wants women who are pregnant and women trying to become pregnant, as well as their partners, to take Zika-related travel warnings seriously.

Zika virus is spread to people mostly through bites of infected Aedes species mosquitos, which do not live in Wyoming due to the state’s climate.  While there are outbreaks of Zika virus in several other countries, the virus is not currently found in the continental United States.

“People should know there have been several cases reported in travelers returning to our country after visiting affected areas. They should also know about the potential serious threat to pregnant women,” said Dr. Tracy Murphy, state epidemiologist and Public Health Sciences Section administrator with WDH.

Anyone who lives in or travels to an area where Zika virus is found and has not already been infected with the virus can get it from mosquito bites. People who have sex without a condom with a man who has Zika may also be at risk.

“Zika can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy and there is growing evidence linking the virus to a brain-related type of birth defect known as microcephaly,” Murphy said. “We want women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant to consider postponing travel to Zika-affected areas. Their partners who may be traveling also need to be mindful of the pregnancy-related risks.”

Murphy noted there is no vaccine to prevent Zika infection, and no medicine to treat the virus. “If you are in a high-risk group, that’s why prevention through considering travel decisions carefully and doing everything possible to prevent mosquito bites if you do visit an affected areas is important,” he said.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. Most infected people don’t realize they have the disease.

WDH staff members are currently advising Wyoming residents and healthcare providers who may have questions about the need for Zika virus testing in specific cases. To date, Zika virus has not been confirmed in any state resident.

More information and detailed advice about Zika virus, including frequently updated travel warning information, can be found online from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html.