One week after local health authorities confirmed its first autochthonous Zika virus infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel notice today for the island of St. Lucia.
Local mosquito transmission means that mosquitoes in the area are infected with Zika virus and are spreading it to people.
There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. Because Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, CDC recommends that travelers to Saint Lucia protect themselves from mosquito bites which includes:
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE, also called para-menthane-diol [PMD]), or IR3535. Always use as directed.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.
- Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children older than 2 months. (OLE should not be used on children younger than 3 years.)
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
- Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
- Mosquito netting can be used to cover babies younger than 2 months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs to protect them from mosquito bites.
Sexual transmission of Zika virus from a male partner is possible. If you have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) with a man while traveling, you should use condoms.
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