Zika is of greatest health concern for pregnant women and those who may become pregnant while infected because the infection is linked to severe birth defects in babies.
West Nile virus infection is typically mild, but can cause serious neurological effects, especially in senior adults and children under age 5.
Chikungunya infection typically causes joint pain and fever in travelers returning from affected areas. Infants and adults over age 65 are most at risk for severe Chikungunya disease.
The following actions will protect you and your family:
- Wear EPA-registered insect repellents, long sleeves and pants to prevent mosquito bites. When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. During the day, apply sunscreen first and then the repellent to exposed skin.
- Mosquito-proof your home by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors. Use your air conditioning, if you have it.
- Empty and scrub out items that hold standing water in and around your home. Flower pots, buckets, gutters/downspouts, kiddie pools, grill covers, pet dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes if they are not emptied and cleaned on a regular basis. Tightly cover water storage containers so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
- Pregnant women should avoid travel to any area with Zika.
- Men with a pregnant sex partner who lived in or traveled to an area with Zika should use condoms, the right way, every time during all types of sex or abstain from sexual activity for the duration of the pregnancy.