NIOSH Urges Steps to Prevent Mosquito Bites, Zika Virus

Published April 6, 2016

A new page on the NIOSH website provides information on the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease that has been reported in several countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific. Women who are pregnant can pass the virus on to the fetus, causing microcephaly, a birth defect that results in incomplete brain development and a smaller than normal head.

Although the disease is commonly spread through from the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, it can also be sexually transmitted. Individuals infected with Zika usually do not become ill and may not realize they have been affected. If symptoms do occur, such as fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes, they are generally mild and last a few days to a week.

NIOSH encourages workers to avoid traveling to the affected areas. U.S. territories with active mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika virus currently include the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and America Samoa.

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests preventive measures such as wearing long sleeves and using EPA-registered insect repellents.

For more information regarding travel, prevention, and risks, visit CDC’s Zika website.