You Count – Zika

The news has been reporting about the Zika virus for several months now. But what is it? And should you be concerned about it?

What is the Zika virus?
Zika is a virus that causes fever, joint aches, red eyes, and rash in about 1 in 5 people who get it. In those who experience symptoms, they are typically mild and go away on their own. However, Zika can cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.

How is Zika transmitted?

  • Primarily by mosquito bites (Aedes species mosquitoes)
  • From pregnant mother to child
  • Through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her partners

zika us mapWhere is Zika in the United States?
While most states have seen cases of Zika, the majority of those infected got the virus when they traveled out of the country. However, Florida has recently had some cases caused by mosquito bites. Generally the mosquitoes that carry and transmit Zika live in the gulf coast and Southeastern US.

How can you protect yourself?

  • If you are travelling to any location where Zika is found, protect yourself from mosquito bites.
    • Wear insect repellant that has DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants thick enough to prevent mosquito bites.
    • Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens.
    • Sleep under a mosquito net if rooms with window screens aren’t available or if staying outdoors/camping.
  • To prevent sexual transmission, use condoms or abstain.

Should you be concerned?
The mosquito carrying this disease isn’t typically found in Washington, so just be aware. Should you choose to become intimate with someone who has traveled recently, use protection. And if you are planning to travel to an area with Zika, take precautions like those listed above.

More Information about Zika

Zika Overview
Areas with Zika

Consumer Reports
Insect Repellant Buying Guide

CDC issues historic travel warning over Miami Zika outbreak

~Jocelyn@Lynnwood Library

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