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Monday

May 27, 2024

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New Jersey

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12:00:00

Clifton Health Dept. Offers
Information On Zika Virus

Zika is a viral infection that is primarily spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. In May 2015, Brazil reported the first outbreak of Zika in the Americas.  Zika is now present in many countries and territories. As this is an evolving situation and more information is being learned every day, please visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/zika for the most up-to-date information.  The New Jersey Department of Health offers a Zika public call center.  It can be reached at 800-962-1253. The most up-to-date information regarding affected countries can be found at www.cdc.gov/zika/geo.  If you plan on travelling, please consult with your doctor before you leave. Specific areas with ongoing virus transmission are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time.  Travel notices will be updated as more information becomes available.

If you plan to travel to a country affected by the outbreak, the CDC recommends that travelers to areas with ongoing transmission protect themselves from mosquito bites by:

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or IR3535. Always use as directed. The safety of oil of lemon eucalyptus in pregnant women is unknown.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.
  • Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children aged >2 months.
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.

The CDC recommends that women who are pregnant in any trimester consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.  If you are pregnant and must travel to any affected area, please talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.  All women of child bearing age who choose to travel should follow steps to prevent mosquito bites in the event of an unplanned pregnancy.

Those who are at most risk are women who are planning to become pregnant or pregnant woman as the virus can be spread to the unborn baby.  Zika has been linked to cases of microcephaly, a serious birth defect that affects the brain.  Other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth include absent or poorly developed brain structures, defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. Knowledge of the link between Zika and these outcomes is evolving.  Please visit the CDC website for the most updated information.

Most people, 80%, who are infected with Zika do not develop symptoms and the illness is usually mild.  The biggest concern presently is the chance for a serious birth defect if a pregnant woman becomes infected.  The most common symptoms of Zika include: fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis.  Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headaches.  Currently, the type of rash commonly seen with Zika is still being defined.  If you have visited an affected country and think you are showing symptoms of Zika, please contact the New Jersey Department of Health at 609-826-5964.

There are ways to prevent mosquitoes outside and inside of our homes.  Although there have been no reports at this time of a person contracting Zika in the United States, precaution is always recommended, especially during the summer time.  The following are things we can do outside of our homes to prevent mosquitoes:

  • Install or repair and use window and door screens.  Do not leave doors propped open.
  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers.  Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
  • Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
  • For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito, between 0.1 inches and 0.7 inches.
  • Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.

For more information, please visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/zika or call the New Jersey Department of Health public call center at 800-962-1253.

The Clifton Health Department is a contractual health agency serving the  Township of Little Falls.

Clifton Health Department – Clifton, NJ