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Zika Virus

Closeup of a mosquito on human skin.From http://phil.cdc.gov/phil/home.asp, Photo ID #9258 http://phil.cdc.gov/PHIL_Images/9258/9258_lores.jpg

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, like the one pictured, can become infected when they bite infected persons and can then spread the Zika virus to other persons they subsequently bite. Protecting workers from mosquito bites can prevent disease.

Photo courtesy of CDC / James Gathany.

Zika (Zee-kah) virus is primarily spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes. There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection, and there is no specific treatment for people who become infected. Although Zika virus is primarily spread by infected mosquitoes, the virus is also spread from a mother to child during pregnancy, where it can cause severe fetal brain defects, and through sexual contact and blood transfusions (www.cdc.gov).

Washington State

Washington State does not have the type of mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus) that carry Zika virus.

There is currently no risk for local transmission through mosquitoes. However, people who travel to and from areas where Zika is spreading can return with Zika illness.

This CDC map shows estimated range for the mosquito species that carry the virus (www.cdc.gov).

Washington State is following Occupational Safety & Health (OSHA) (www.osha.gov) and Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) (www.cdc.gov) for worker safety and health information related to the Zika virus.

For the most up-to-date information, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Zika website (www.cdc.gov) frequently. Also see the International Travel for Work fact sheet (F242-419-000) for workers traveling abroad.

Precautionary measures for preventing exposure to the Zika virus depend on the type of work, potential for contamination of the work environment, and what is known about other potential exposure hazards. Infection control strategies may have to be modified to include personal protective equipment (PPE) selection and use, administrative controls, and/or safe work practice.

Workers more likely for risk of exposure to the virus:

  • Outdoor workers (may be at greatest risk).
  • Healthcare and laboratory workers.
  • Mosquito control workers.
  • Business travelers.

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