A Zika virus message from Dr. Fitzgerald:
About Zika virus?
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern February 1, 2016. The Georgia Department of Public Health and Cobb & Douglas Public Health cautions travelers, especially women who are pregnant, to protect themselves against mosquito bites when heading to countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
What is 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. Most people infected with Zika virus never know they are sick. Please visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/ for the most updated information.
How is Zika virus spread?
Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito which can be found in Georgia. The mosquitos bite mostly during the daytime, they do not fly very far, and tend to live around homes. The mosquitos breed in containers so removing them or dumping out standing water at least once a week, or using larvicides such as mosquito dunks or mosquito torpedoes in water that cannot be dumped out, will reduce the number of these mosquitoes. Zika virus can be spread during sex by a man infected with Zika to his partners.
For more information about Zika virus for specific groups, please click on the links below.
Zika testing guidance for physicians and laboratories:
- Guidance for physicians
- Guidance for laboratories
- If you have questions about testing or Zika virus infection, please contact the Epidemiology Program at Georgia Department of Public Health at 404-657-2588 or Cobb & Douglas Public Health Epidemiology at 770-514-2432.
Zika guidance for pregnant women:
- There are urgent concerns about Zika virus infection and pregnant women. Zika virus infections have been confirmed in infants with microcephaly and in the current outbreak in Brazil, a marked increase in the number of infants born with microcephaly has been reported. Pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant should not travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
- Until more is known, pregnant women with male sex partners who have lived in or traveled to an area with Zika virus should either use condoms the right way, every time, for vaginal, anal, or oral (mouth-to-penis) sex or not have sex during the pregnancy.
- If a pregnant woman is concerned that her male partner may have or had Zika virus infection, she should talk to her healthcare provider. She should tell her healthcare provider about her male partner’s travel history, including how long he stayed, whether or not he took steps to prevent getting mosquito bites, and if she had sex with him without a condom since his return.
- Women trying to get pregnant and their male partners should talk to their healthcare provider before traveling to areas with Zika. Because sexual transmission is possible, both men and women should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.
Zika guidance for non-pregnant individuals, including travelers and property owners:
Travelers: Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Travelers should check CDC travel advisories for their destinations and take precautions to protect themselves from mosquitos:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535 (use as directed)
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents)
- Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned room
- Upon returning to the U.S., be especially vigilant to guard against mosquito bites, as Zika virus can be passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then transmit the virus to other people and lead to local transmission.
- Please visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information for the most updated travel notices.
Property Owners: CDPH urges property owners to Tip ‘n Toss – Tip ‘n Toss Campaign Aims to Prevent Spread of Zika in Cobb and Douglas Counties
Zika information for kids:
What is Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) doing about Zika Virus?
- Mosquito complaints are routinely investigated by the CDPH Environmental Health staff under the authority of the local nuisance ordinance and OCGA 31-3-6.
- During warm weather months and into the fall, CDPH will have two part-time seasonal staff that are funded by Cobb County, which are used solely for mosquito complaint investigations and larviciding of public property.
- The Georgia Department of Public Health is supporting mosquito trapping and identification throughout the state, which includes the assignment of a regional Vector Surveillance Coordinator (VSC) to provide these services in Cobb, Douglas and Fulton counties. In addition to mosquito surveillance, the VSC is performing community vector assessments and collaborating with existing city/county/contracted mosquito control agencies to assist them in their mosquito control activities.
- The CDPH Epidemiology team will continue to coordinate testing for ALL suspect Zika cases in Cobb and Douglas counties.
CobbTV 23: View the June 1, 2016 episode of Spotlight on Public Health, highlighting the Zika Virus.