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Title: Zap Zika

by Joylene John-Sowah, MD MPH, Division Chief, Communicable Diseases, Baltimore County Department of Health & Human Services

Summer brings backyard gatherings, picnics and travel. The fun should not be overshadowed by thoughts of Zika. At the Baltimore County Department of Health, we are doing our part to make this season safe. 

Aedes mosquitos can become infected with the Zika virus if they bite a person that has it. These infected mosquitos can then spread the virus to other people through bites. The majority of people who become infected with Zika never know it, while others may experience fever, rash, headache, joint pain, and/or conjunctivitis (red eyes). These symptoms usually last for several days to a week. Even though symptoms are usually mild and go away with rest and fluids, pregnant women are at risk of passing it on to their unborn babies. Zika has been linked to a number of birth defects, including microcephaly (small head due to small brain) and brain damage.

When travelling this season, it’s important to be aware of the areas with active transmission of Zika virus. In the continental US, active local Zika transmission by mosquitoes has been reported in Miami-Dade County, Florida and Brownsville, Texas.  Find out more about specific areas in the U.S. and other countries with active Zika transmission.

Mosquito control and protection are important to preventing mosquito bites and breeding opportunities. In order to prevent the spread of Zika virus, always remember to WRAP UP!

W: Wear long sleeved shirts, pants and hats.

R: Repair damaged doors and windows.

A: Always empty objects and containers that stay outside and hold water, to avoid creating mosquito breeding sites.

P: Protect yourself with an EPA-registered insect repellent.

U: Use condoms or abstain from sexual activity if you are pregnant, or if you or your partner has been in a Zika infested area.

P: Pregnant women should avoid traveling to areas affected by Zika.

By following these simple steps, we can all do our part to Zap Zika!

If you have a community organization that would be interested in having a representative from the Department of Health give an educational presentation about Zika virus, call 410-887-6011.


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Revised September 11, 2017