Before traveling

First, update routine vaccinations, such as influenza, MMR, DPT, confirm Hepatitis B.

Visit a travel medicine clinic for the following:

  • Evaluation for travel vaccinations to reduce alternative causes of illness (hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis, typhoid fever, yellow fever).
  • Prescribe anti-malarial pills (in South America, malaria is co-endemic in 30-40% of the zika range).
  • Consider use of stand-by antibiotics for Travelers Diarrhea (if appropriate).
  • Review mosquito avoidance: avoid standing water and trash; travel on windward side; select hotels with screened windows and doors; utilize fans and AC.
  • Purchase permethrin-treated clothing and DEET or picaridin repellent.
  • Strict avoidance of unprotected sex while in regions with Zika.

While traveling

Follow these mosquito rules.
Avoid:
  • Wearing dark-colored clothing
  • Clothing with floral prints or with images that mimic flowers, which is the food source of mosquitoes
  • Fragrant soaps and shampoos which attract mosquitoes
  • Perfume
  • Wearing shorts & short sleeves whenever possible
  • Bare feet
  • Drinking beer
Do:
  • Use unscented antibacterial soap to reduce skin bacteria that attracts the Aedes mosquito
  • Shower regularly to avoid build up of body odor and bacteria on skin- a major attractant of the Zika mosquito
  • Use plenty of soap to wash your feet, arm pits and groin, which are especially attractive to Aedes mosquitoes
  • Wear light-colored, long sleeved shirts and pants
  • Wash clothing between wearing; this avoids accumulation of body odor
  • Wear clean socks and change shoe insoles; bacteria and foot odor attract mosquitoes to your feet
  • Use screens, ceiling fans & AC
  • Use bed nets day & night
  • Carefully apply Picaridin, DEET or lemon of eucalyptus skin repellent as described in "Approved Repellents."
Recent studies suggest consuming beer attracts the Culex mosquito which transmits West Nile Virus and might transmit Zika. This data has not been verified for Zika mosquito (Aedes aegypti and A. albopictus).

When back home

  • Wear repellent and avoid mosquitoes for 21 days (to prevent infection of local mosquitoes).
  • Avoid unprotected sex with men who return from areas with Zika until they are screened and tested. This conservative precaution is based on unpublished data and is critical for women not on contraception and men having sex with men.
  • Pregnant women should talk to a doctor whenever they, or their male partners, return from an area with Zika.
April 2016 Zika Foundation Recommendations adapted from MMWR Update: Interim Guidance for Prevention of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus — United States, 2016, MMWR: April 1, 2016 / 65(12);323–325.
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