Local health officials discuss new Zika virus recommendations

(James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP, File)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new recommendations to prevent Zika virus transmission.

The CDC is reporting 273 travel-associated Zika virus cases in the U.S.  Ohio currently has nine confirmed cases. One case has been reported in Montgomery County.

“We feel that at this point that the risk of Zika in this area is not going to be substantial. We don’t know that for certain, but we anticipate that it’s not going to be a big problem here in Montgomery County,” stated John Steele, Public Information Specialist with Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County.

The updated recommendations are based on evidence linking Zika and microcephaly. Microcephaly is a birth defect that is a sign of incomplete brain development. The updated CDC recommendations are:

  • For women who have been diagnosed with Zika virus or who have symptoms of Zika including fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes, to wait at least eight weeks after their symptoms appeared to get pregnant.
  • For men who have been diagnosed with Zika virus or who have symptoms to wait at least six months to have unprotected sex.
  • For men and women without symptoms of Zika virus to wait at least eight weeks after their possible exposure before trying to get pregnant in order to minimize risk.

The updated guidance on sexual transmission includes new time frames for men and their partners. The updated CDC recommendations are:

  • Couples with men who have symptoms or confirmed Zika should consider using condoms or not having sex for at least six months after symptoms begin.
  • Couples with men who traveled to an area with Zika but did not develop symptoms should consider using condoms or not having sex for at least eight weeks after their return.
  • Couples who are trying to get pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider.

“There are certain things that we do know, and so that’s why it’s so important to follow the guidelines,” stated Steele. “The other thing that’s so important is that we know that this is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, so it’s very important, especially if you’re in those areas, to do all that you can to prevent mosquito bites, and one of the keys to that is to prevent standing water on your own property because if there’s no standing water, there’s no mosquito breeding.”

Right now, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus.

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