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Home News Get Educated About Zika Virus
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Get Educated About Zika Virus

February 24, 2016 - Zoonotic Diseases - Information

Zika virus is a topic discussed over and over by media, leaving whoever reads or watches coverage to be concerned for good reason.

That’s because the virus is transmitted to people mostly by getting bit by an infected mosquito, but there’s even reports of getting Zika virus through sexual contact. The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reports there have been no known cases in New Mexico to date, but the mosquito species that transmits the virus have been found here in Doña Ana County.

For one out of five people who contract the disease, it can cause fever, rash, muscle aches, joint pain and red eyes. Symptoms are usually mild and last from a few days to a week. It’s rare for a person with Zika virus to become severely ill or be hospitalized.

The bigger concern though is for pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant because it’s been linked to birth defects, including microcephaly and other poor birth outcomes in some women infected during their pregnancy.

Birth defects, even miscarriage, can be issues for mothers-to-be, that’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued travel warnings for anyone headed to the Caribbean, South America among other places around the world.

But again it bears repeating: there are no known cases in our state. NMDOH has reached out to health care providers around the state to educate them on the signs and symptoms of Zika virus and give out correct information to their patients.

All of us can avoid Zika virus the same way we avoid West Nile virus (a far more common problem in New Mexico): Prevent mosquito bites. According to the CDC, to avoid Zika or other viruses spread by mosquitoes, take the following steps:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
    • Always follow the product label instructions
    • Reapply insect repellent as directed.
    • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
    • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
  • If you have a baby or child:
    • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
    • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, or
    • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
    • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
    • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
  • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
    • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
    • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
    • Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.

For more information on Zika virus and prevention, visit the New Mexico Department of Health’s Zika Virus page.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

Versión en Español

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Sea Educado Acerca Del Virus Zika