NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– There are on-going concerns about the Zika virus as we head into the long holiday weekend. People will be traveling. Even if you’re not heading to a place affected by Zika virus, a lot of people will be spending time outside and in areas where there are a lot of mosquitoes.
There are daily flights to Puerto Rico and to other countries affected by Zika and the state department of public health is warning travelers to be careful. That’s especially true for pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant. They’re urged not to visit countries with Zika at all if possible. That’s because the virus has been linked to birth defects in women infected during pregnancy. And it is expected to continue spreading.
Zika could infect roughly 700,000 people in Puerto Rico alone by the end of the year. Since Zika virus is mainly spread through mosquito bites, the centers for disease control and prevention urge travelers to protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites in the first place.
The best way to protect yourself? Wear insect repellant. And if you can, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. And stay in places with air conditioning or use window or door screens to keep the bugs outside. Zika virus can also be spread sexually.
If you’re coming back to the United States after visiting an area with Zika you’re urged to take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks after returning so you don’t spread the virus to uninfected mosquitoes. There’s still no medicine for Zika.