Zika Virus

Learn more about the Zika Virus Prevention Methods The risk of Zika virus transmission can be greatly reduced through these prevention methods.

Transmission Prevention

When possible, avoid places and times when mosquitoes bite. Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants which are loose fitting and light colored. Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents. Always follow the product label instructions. When used as directed, EPA registered insect repellents are proven to be safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast feeding women. 

EPA registered insect repellents include: 

  • DEET 
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023) 
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD (Products containing OLE include Repel and Off! Botanicals) 
  • IR3535

Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing. Reapply insect repellent as directed by the product label. If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent. If you have a baby or child: Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age; Dress your child in clothing that covers their arms and legs, or cover their crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting; Do not apply insect repellent onto a child's hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin; Adults should spray insect repellent onto their hands and then apply to a child's face.

Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin treated items:

  • Permethrin treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings, see product label for information regarding how long the protection will last;
  • If treating items oneself, carefully follow the product instructions;
  • Never use permethrin products directly on skin as they are only intended to treat clothing or gear.

 Control mosquitoes outside your residence:

  • Sleep under a mosquito net if you are outside and unable to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
  • Remain in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Remove standing water from around the outside of your residence at least once a week.
  • Cover water storage containers with tightly fitting lids or use wire mesh with holes smaller than adult mosquitoes.
  • If large containers cannot be drained or covered and the water will not be used for drinking, treat it with larvicides.
  • In accordance with the instructions for the product, use an outdoor insect spray to spray where mosquitoes rest.
  • Repair cracks or gaps in septic tanks and cover vents or plumbing pipes with wire mesh that will keep out an adult mosquito.

Control mosquitoes inside your residence:

  • Keep windows and doors closed and use air conditioning when available.
  • Install new or repair broken window and door screens.
  • Empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or discard any items that hold water (e.g., vases, terrariums, pet dishes) to remove standing water from around the inside of your residence at least once a week.
  • In accordance with the instructions for the product, use an indoor insect spray or fogger to kill mosquitoes.

If you have Zika virus:

Take steps to avoid mosquito bites at least during the first week of illness to protect others from getting infected.  While Zika virus is present in an infected person’s blood it can be passed to a mosquito through mosquito bites.  The infected mosquito could then bite other people and spread the Zika virus. 

Sexual Transmission Prevention:

 Please follow safe sex practices for Zika virus prevention. 

Prevention for Pregnant Women:

The CDC recommends that pregnant women DO NOT travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission. If a pregnant woman must travel to one of these areas she should:

  • Talk to her healthcare provider.
  • Strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites and prevent sexual transmission during the trip.

If a pregnant woman has a partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika; she should follow safe sex practices. This is important, even if the partner does not have symptoms of Zika or feel sick.

Please see the interim guidance from the CDC for pregnant women, women of childbearing age and preventing sexual transmission of Zika Virus.

For symptomatic pregnant women with exposure to Zika virus, rRT-PCR testing of serum and urine is recommended for up to 2 weeks after symptom onset. In addition, for asymptomatic pregnant women who live in areas without active Zika virus transmission, rRT-PCR testing of serum and urine is recommended for 2 weeks after the last possible exposure; and for women who are evaluated 2-12 weeks after exposure and have been found to be Zika virus IgM-positive. 

Asymptomatic pregnant women with exposure to Zika may be offered screening with serologic testing within 2-12 weeks after the last date of possible exposure. Asymptomatic women who live in areas with active Zika virus transmission should have Zika virus IgM testing as part of routine obstetric care during the 1st and 2nd trimesters, with immediate rRT-PCR testing of women who are IgM-positive; a positive rRT-PCR test provides a definitive diagnosis of ZIKV infection.

Prevention for Travelers

Check the CDC's Travelers Health website to see travel health notices for the countries where you plan to travel. Travelers should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks after returning from an area with Zika virus, even if they do not feel sick. This is because you can have Zika in your blood and a mosquito can bite you, get infected with Zika virus, and spread the virus to other people.

Tippecanoe County Health Department Press Releases: