Zika Virus: Important Information for Travelers

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Many Vermonters are eager to travel to warmer climates, but if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, do not travel to areas with the Zika virus.

Zika virus is spread through bites from certain kinds of mosquitoes that are found in warmer places such as Puerto Rico and other islands in the Caribbean, and Central and South America. It is also spread through sex and contact with blood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps track of the places where Zika virus is being spread by mosquitoes, and provides up-to-date information. Check before you go

If it is not possible to change or delay travel to an area with Zika virus, men and women should take the following precautions:

What if you have to travel to an area with Zika virus?
  • Talk to your health care provider before you go.
  • Use bug spray that contains DEET.
  • Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants to cover skin.
  • Because Zika virus is spread through sex, and it can stay in the body for months after infection, men and women should use condoms during and after travel.

If you’re pregnant, do not have unprotected sex (vaginal, anal or oral) with anyone who may have Zika virus. This includes men who traveled to areas with Zika, even if they don’t have symptoms. If you are pregnant and had sex with a person who may have been exposed to Zika virus, contact your health care provider to discuss Zika virus testing.

Symptoms of Zika Virus Infection

Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Muscle pain

If you have traveled to an area with Zika virus and you have symptoms, call your health care provider to ask about testing.

5 things to KNOW about Zika virus:

  1. Zika virus is spread through a mosquito bite. Zika
  2. The mosquitoes that carry Zika virus can be found in warm climates in the southern U.S., specifically in parts of Texas and Southern Florida, and further south including the Caribbean Islands and South and Central America.
  3. Zika virus is spread through sex (oral, anal and vaginal) and contact with blood.
  4. Zika causes birth defects, so pregnant women should not travel to areas where Zika virus is circulating.
  5. Most people (80%) who get infected with Zika do not get sick, so you can’t assume that an intimate partner who traveled to an area with Zika virus is not infected.

5 things you need to DO about Zika virus:

  1. Learn about the virus and how it spreads. Zika protection
  2. Before planning a trip check the CDC’s Zika map, especially if you’re pregnant.
  3. Assess your risk and make an informed choice about travel based on your future plans for pregnancy. Talk to your health care provider.
  4. Use bug spray with DEET when you spend time outdoors in a Zika-affected area, and reduce exposure by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  5. Don't spread Zika sexually — use condoms in addition to other methods of contraception every time you have sex (oral, anal and vaginal) with a partner who has traveled to an area with Zika virus.

More Information

Preventing mosquito bites will help lower your risk of all mosquito-borne diseases. Learn More