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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Travel Alert, Zika Fever in French Polynesia (Tahiti)

Level 1 Take usual Precautions
The French Polynesia Department of Health has confirmed an outbreak of Zika fever in Tahiti and the other islands that make up the country (Tahaa, Uturoa, Bora-Bora, Taiohae, and Arutua). Several hundred cases are suspected. No hospitalizations or deaths have been reported. The Department of Health is working to improve surveillance.
Zika fever is an illness caused by a virus that spread through mosquito bites. It is closely related to dengue virus and causes a similar illness. Symptoms of Zika fever may include fever, headache, red eyes, rash, muscle aches, and joint pains. The illness is usually mild and lasts 4-7 days.
Travelers who go to certain places in Africa, Asia, and the Western Pacific are at risk of getting Zika virus (see map). The mosquito that carries Zika virus can bite during the day and night, both indoors and outdoors, and often lives around buildings in urban areas.
There is currently no vaccine or medicine to prevent Zika fever. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites.
Prevent mosquito bites:
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent as directed.
  • Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection. Use products with the following active ingredients:
    • DEET (Products containing DEET include Off!, Cutter, Sawyer, and Ultrathon)
    • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin. Products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan [outside the US])
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD (Products containing OLE include Repel and Off! Botanical)
    • IR3535 (Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and Skin Smart)
  • Always follow product directions and reapply as directed:
  • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
  • Follow package directions when applying repellent on children. Avoid applying repellent to their hands, eyes, and mouth.
  • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See the product information to find out how long the protection will last.
  • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
  • Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself:
  • Stay and sleep in screened or air-conditioned rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
If you feel sick and think you may have Zika Virus:
Traveler Information
Clinician Information

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