NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The third travel-related case of the Zika virus has been confirmed in the state of Tennessee.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus spreading rapidly across Latin America. Most people who get it experience only minor symptoms, if any, but the virus has been linked to a devastating birth defect that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads.
With mosquito season upon us, the health department stresses that Zika is a serious concern.
Officials told News 2 there are 58 territories where Zika is being actively transmitted and reiterate that everyone has to take steps to protect themselves, their families, and their neighbors.
“Fight the bite, drain and cover, protect pregnant women, and, three weeks after travel, mosquito bite avoidance by the traveling public,” state health commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner explained.
He says you can fight the bite by using mosquito repellent.
Drain and cover refers to draining areas where water can build up then cover them so the water doesn’t accumulate again.
As for protecting pregnant women, he asks that pregnant women and their partners avoid travel areas where Zika is being transmitted. If an expectant mother’s partner has traveled to an infected Zika area, health officials suggest you abstain from sex for the duration of the pregnancy or use a condom.
Males with non-pregnant partners who have Zika symptoms, which include fever, joint pain, and red eyes, need to abstain from sex or use a condom for six months. Men who travel to Zika areas and don’t have symptoms are advised to sustain from sex for eight weeks.
The health department also asks that everyone try to avoid mosquito bites while on vacation and for at least three weeks after returning home.
There is no vaccine, treatment or cure for Zika, so the state health department says prevention is critical.