Department of Health urges careful spring traveling for areas near the Zika Virus outbreak.
POUGHKEEPSIE-With the Spring season underway, the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health warns the residents of the Hudson Valley that traveling to certain regions pose many health hazards, in particular the recently dangerous Zika Virus.
“We recommend residents consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for travel advisories and guidance whenever they are planning a trip,” said Margaret Hirst, LCSW-R, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral & Community Health.
The Zika Virus resurfaced in 2015, and has been documented by the CDC in numerous areas. Their website (at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/world-map-areas-with-zika) includes areas where the virus has been newly recognized, areas where the virus was present before the recent outbreak, and areas where there is speculation that the disease is circulating. In particular, the Department recommends that pregnant women no go anywhere where Zika has been documented.
“Zika virus is not spread from person to person by casual contact,” added Hirst. “Zika virus can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact, therefore we recommend abstinence or consistent condom usage for anyone with recent travel history to Zika-affected areas. For pregnant women, it is especially important that condoms be used for the duration of their pregnancy.”
The disease is also contracted through mosquito bites, therefore the Department is recommending that residents do not take likely the importance of bite prevention when they travel. Hirst recommends using an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites. Other ways to prevent mosquito bites include wearing long pants and long-sleeved clothing, treating clothing with permethrin, staying in places with air conditioning and window/door screens, or sleeping under a bed net if such accommodations are not available.
For more information on how you can protect yourself from Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases, visit www.dutchessny.gov/mosquito