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Zika Virus

Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting  from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. There is no vaccine for the Zika virus.  For more information about the Zika virus visit the CDC's Zika page ( www.cdc.gov/zika )  Zika virus pic 

In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert about the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. For pregnant women the virus can be dangerous to the growing baby.  

Current advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that men with a pregnant partner should use a condom or abstain from sex for the duration of the pregnancy if they have visited, or live in, an area where mosquitos are spreading the Zika virus. It is important that pregnant women who have travelled to areas with Zika virus transmission tell their doctors.

The CDC has issued travel notices for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. The CDC Traveler's Health Page gives the most current Zika travel information.

The Zika virus in the United States is mostly in people returning home from travel to affected countries. There is only one known case of possible Zika transmission within the United States, which occurred in Dallas,TX. This occurred after sexual contact between a recently infected traveler and their partner at home in the U.S. 

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) has confirmed its first case of a Marylander being infected with the Zika virus. The patient had traveled to a country where Zika transmission has been active and ongoing. A blood test confirmed that the patient had Zika.

 For Health Care Providers  - The CDC has developed interim guidlelines in the United States caring for pregnant women during a possible Zika outbreak. These guidelines include recommendations for pregnant women considering travel to an area with Zika virus transmission and recommendations for screening, testing, and management of pregnant returning travelers. 

Mayland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's (DHMH) Zika webpage has a large amount of information and resources available. There are clinician guidelines and information on that page as well. 

Other resources/Otros recursos:

 Seasonal Flu 

 Who Should Get the Flu Shot?  

  • Everyone 6 months old and up
  • It is especially important that certain people get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu–related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu–related complications.

 They are:  

  • Pregnant women
  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long–term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
    • Health care workers
    • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
    • Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

Most Effective Ways to Stay Healthy During Flu Season:  

  • Get your flu shot
  • Cover your cough (sneeze into your elbow, into the sleeve fabric--if short sleeves then into the sleeve.
  • Wash your hands
  • If you are sick-STAY HOME!


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Howard County Health Department
8930 Stanford Blvd. Columbia, MD 21045
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