students and their families in the U.S. are taking a reprieve
from winter and traveling to warmer climates for spring break.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants to
remind those heading to areas where there have been known
cases of Zika to protect themselves, and help stop the spread
of the mosquito-borne virus.
has not gone away," says Dr. Pritish Tosh, an infectious
diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic. "Even though we’re
talking less about Zika in the news — mostly because we’re
not seeing as many cases as we did during the summer months
— those cases are still trickling in. And the main concern
is, of course, when things start to warm up, that we will
likely see a resurgence, and potentially a continuation in the
geographic spread of where Zika is now endemic in very small
areas within the U.S."
offers theses tips to spring break travelers:
insect repellent. Reapply, as directed. Remember to apply
sunscreen first and then insect repellent.
Cover exposed skin, when possible.
and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms. Use a bed
net if you’re sleeping outside.
also can be spread through sex, so use condoms if you have
no Zika vaccine, though several are in development, including
at Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group.
hope is that we have a Zika vaccine that is ready before any
potential spread of Zika throughout the rest of the
U.S.," says Tosh. "My concern is that we may not
have that, in which case the real area of protection is making
sure that pregnant women are not traveling to areas with
ongoing Zika transmission. Also, if they are living in an area
with ongoing Zika transmission, they should be very careful
about avoiding mosquito bites and getting rid of standing
water within their home to avoid harboring mosquitoes, such as
the Aedes aegypti that tend to live very close to human
virus, which can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus,
has been linked to microcephaly, a birth defect that affects