The Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits the Zika virus is found throughout the tropics and subtropics – it has never been found as far north as South Dakota. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women postpone travel to Zika-affected areas. Individuals who do travel to such areas and become ill within 10 days should see their physician. Health care providers should contact the South Dakota Department of Health at 605-773-3737 for consultation on Zika testing. If after consultation, the individual meets the case definition, the provider should contact the State Public Health Laboratory at 605-773-3368 — the laboratory will ship the sample and necessary paperwork to CDC for testing.

The following resource from the CDC provides additional information about Zika virus.

Disease Fact Sheet

Disease Facts

Zika virus spreads primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, though it can also be passed through sexual intercourse.

The mosquitoes that carry Zika can be found in many countries. Outbreaks of Zika are still occurring in parts of the world.

If you’ve been to an area with risk of Zika and have symptoms of Zika after travel, see your healthcare provider.

Symptoms are usually mild and can last for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital and they very rarely die of Zika. The most common Zika symptoms include:

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

See your doctor or other health care provider if you have the symptoms described above and have visited an area with risk of Zika. This is especially important if you are pregnant. Infection while pregnant can cause microcephaly and other serious birth defects in babies*.* Be sure to tell your doctor or other healthcare provider where you traveled. Even if you do not feel sick, you should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks after travel so you do not spread Zika to uninfected mosquitoes.

Zika infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly (a condition in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age) and other birth defects. Because of the risk, pregnant women should not travel to areas with a risk of Zika. Pregnant women who travel to or live in areas with a risk of Zika should take steps to prevent mosquito bites and use condoms or not have sex during their pregnancy to avoid getting Zika from their partner.

Women and their partners thinking about pregnancy should talk to a healthcare provider before traveling to areas where Zika could be a risk. If a couple decides to travel to an area with Zika, they should consider waiting to get pregnant. If the couple travels together, or only the male partner travels, they should consider using condoms or not having sex for at least 3 months after travel. If only the female partner travels, the couple should consider waiting at least 2 months after travel.

There is no vaccine to protect against Zika. If you’re traveling to an area with a risk of Zika, the best way to prevent Zika is to take steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika during and after travel.

Take these steps to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. Make sure to check for and fix any holes in screens.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air-conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
  • Use the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent external icon with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, paramenthanediol, or 2-undecanone.
    • When used as directed, these 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. Put on clothing first, and then apply repellent to any exposed skin.
      • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
  • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin external icon or buy permethrin-treated items.
    • Treated clothing can protect after multiple washings. See the product’s 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 the skin. They are intended to treat clothing.

Even if you don’t feel sick, travelers returning from an area with a risk of Zika should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks so they do not pass Zika to mosquitoes that could then spread the virus to other people.

If you have a baby or child:

  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
  • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.
  • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
  • Cover cribs, strollers, and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
  • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, or cut or irritated skin.
  • Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to your child’s face.

Prevent mosquito bites even after you return from traveling to areas with Zika. If you get infected, even if you don’t get sick, Zika virus can be found in your blood and passed to mosquitoes through mosquito bites. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people.

See CDC’s Zika website For More Information.

Get Information on Zika and Pregnancy.

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This material is provided by the South Dakota Department of Health for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical care. We are not able to answer personal medical questions. Please see your health care provider concerning appropriate care, treatment, or other medical advice.

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