Newsroom

Health Alert: Zika Virus Outbreak in the Americas

Friday, February 05, 2016   |   Category: Sonora Quest News

The following health alert is from the Arizona Department of Health Services:

Due to the rapid expansion of Zika virus to Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico, there are new recommendations for clinicians and travelers to Zika-affected countries. Local mosquito-borne transmission of the virus has not been documented in the continental United States, but infections have been identified in travelers returning from affected areas. A link has also been identified between Zika virus infection in pregnant women and microcephaly and fetal losses. 

CDC recommends that pregnant women should consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. All travelers should take steps to avoid mosquito bites to prevent Zika virus infection and other mosquito-borne diseases.

Recommendations for healthcare providers:

  1. Consider Zika virus in patients with a travel history to affected countries (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html and http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/). Symptoms of Zika virus infection are usually mild, and include maculopapular rash, arthralgia, conjunctivitis and fever.
  2. Notify your local public health department immediately about suspected Zika cases. Commercial testing for Zika virus is not currently available, but can be coordinated through your local health department. Cross-reactions can occur with dengue, West Nile virus, and other flaviviruses. No specific antiviral therapy is available; aspirin and other NSAIDs should be avoided until dengue virus has been ruled out.
  3. Ask pregnant women about recent travel. Pregnant women with a history of travel to an area with Zika virus transmission and who have symptoms compatible with Zika, or ultrasound findings of fetal microcephaly or intracranial calcifications, should be tested for Zika virus infection in consultation with the local health department.

For more detailed information about Zika virus, visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/. Guidelines for pregnant women during a Zika virus outbreak are available here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6502e1er.htm?s_cid=mm6502e1er_x 

Local health department contacts are available here: http://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/index.php#resources-county

Arizona Department of Health Services can be reached at 602-364-3676 or vbzd@azdhs.gov