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Zika Virus

In certain parts of the world, the Zika virus is a continuing threat to the health of that areas human population, especially unborn children. The disease is primarily spread when one of two species of mosquitos bite an infected person and then subsequently bites an uninfected person. In order for the disease to spread quickly, a large number of these mosquitos are needed in close proximity to humans, as well as having infected humans dispersed within the population.
 
The mosquito species that transmit the virus are not present within Broome County at this time, and will most likely not be for years. The real threat of contracting Zika as a Broome County resident would be to travel to an active Zika region, or to have unprotected sex with a male partner that has recently travelled to one of these regions. The following are recommendations for people who must travel to active Zika areas or are sexually active with a male who has recently travelled there.
 
Despite the fact that Zika Virus is not currently active in Broome County, the BCHD recommends being proactive in minimizing the breeding grounds of mosquitos and decreasing human exposure.
 
The Broome County Health Department recommends the following methods to reduce the numbers of mosquitos by modifying their available breeding habitat around your home:
  • Discard items or empty water from items such as flower pots, pet food/water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans, etc.
  • Remove all discarded tires on your property, as used tires have become the most common mosquito breeding site in the country.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly, and clean clogged gutters in the Spring and Fall.
  • Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate stagnant water that collects on your property.
  • Report abandoned swimming pools or tire piles to your local code enforcement office.
  • Contact your local municipality for tire collection events.
The Broome County Health Department recommends the following as methods to decrease mosquito contact with humans:
  • Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. Choosing an EPA-registered repellent ensures the EPA has evaluated the product for effectiveness. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
        - Always follow the product label instructions.
        - Reapply insect repellent as directed.
        - Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
        - If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
  • Treat clothing and gear with Permithrin or purchase Permithrin-treated items.
  • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings.
     - See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
     - If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
     -Do NOT use Permithrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.
  • When weather permits, wear long sleeved shirts and long pants whenever outdoors
Traveling to areas with Zika
There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
 
Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:
  •  Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
       - Always follow the product label instructions.
       - Reapply insect repellent as directed.
- Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
- If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent. 
  • If you have a baby or child:
- Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
- Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, or
- Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
- Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
- Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
  • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items
       - Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings.
See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
- If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
- Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.
Sexual Transmission
Sexual transmission of Zika virus from a man is possible. If you have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) with a man while traveling to an active Zika area, or with a man who has recently travelled to an active area, you should use condoms.
 
For men and their pregnant partners, the recommendations are:
  • Men who have traveled to or live in an area with active Zika virus transmission and their pregnant sex partners should always and correctly use condoms during sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) or abstain from sex for the duration of the pregnancy. This course is the best way to avoid even a minimal risk of sexual transmission of Zika virus, which could have adverse fetal effects when contracted during pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women should discuss their male sex partner’s history of travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission and history of illness consistent with Zika virus disease with their health care provider.
Recommendations for men and their non-pregnant sex partners:
  • Couples in which a man had confirmed Zika virus infection or clinical illness consistent with Zika virus should consider using condoms or abstaining from sex for at least 6 months after onset of illness.
  • Couples in which a man traveled to an area with active Zika virus transmission but did not develop symptoms of Zika virus disease should consider using condoms or abstaining from sex for at least 8 weeks after departure from the area.
  • Couples in which a man resides in an area with active Zika virus transmission but has not developed symptoms of Zika virus disease might consider using condoms or abstaining from sex while active transmission persists.
Additional Information on Zika Virus: