Current Issues

February 24, 2017: Zika Virus Update

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has shared the following updated information and resources to colleges and universities in Virginia, including a Spring Break toolkit:

Zika Spring Break Toolkit
Virginia's Response to Zika
Zika Information for Travelers
Tips from the State Health Commissioner
Latest travel recommendations from the CDC

February 22, 2016: Zika Virus Update

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has shared the following updated information and recommendations to colleges and universities in Virginia:

Virginia Department of Health Notice with Recommendations

Virginia Department of Health Brochure about Zika Virus

February 3, 2016: Zika Virus Update


On February 2, the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) issued a press release that it had received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the first Zika virus case acquired through sexual transmission in Dallas County in 2016. The patient was infected with the virus after having sexual contact with an ill individual who returned from a country where Zika virus is present.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week. DCHHS advises individuals with symptoms to see a healthcare provider if they have visited an area where Zika virus is present or had sexual contact with a person who traveled to an area where Zika virus is present. There is no specific medication available to treat Zika virus and there is not a vaccine. The best way to avoid Zika virus is to avoid mosquito bites and to avoid sexual contact with a person who has Zika virus.

The DCHHS director is adding condom use to its list of recommendations for avoiding contracting the virus. (View Press Release Here).

Because specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are difficult to determine and likely to change over time, CDC will update their travel notice as information becomes available. Check the CDC travel website frequently for the most up-to-date recommendations.

More information about the virus is avalable online at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/

January 28, 2016: Zika Virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued Travel Health Notices regarding risk of Zika Virus transmission in parts of the Caribbean, South America, Central America, Cape Verde, Samoa and Mexico. The CDC alert is Level 2, which advises travelers to those regions to Practice Enhanced Precautions.

Because Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes, and there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika, CDC recommends that travelers protect themselves from mosquito bites:

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • 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 and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), 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 aged >2 months.

This alert follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. However, additional studies are needed to further characterize this relationship. More studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.

Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant:

  • Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
  • Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip

Because specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are difficult to determine and likely to change over time, CDC will update this travel notice as information becomes available. Check the CDC travel website frequently for the most up-to-date recommendations.

More information about the virus is avalable online at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/