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Don’t Bring Zika Home

A Message from the California Department of Public Health

Californians, particularly pregnant women residing in the state, are at risk of contracting the Zika virus, which could have devastating impacts on a developing baby. The highest risk is attributable to women traveling to countries where the Zika virus is being transmitted locally by the Aedes agypti mosquito and sexual transmission. While pregnant women are most at risk, other travelers, especially those of childbearing age, are also at risk of contracting the virus and passing it to others through sexual transmission.

We recently released a PSA on the subject; you can view it here by visiting

Here are a few things we want you to know.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that can infect both men and women. Most concerning of all, the virus can have detrimental effects on pregnant women and their child. This is why it is up to all of us to stay vigilant.

There are three main ways to contract the virus: (1) from mosquitoes in infected areas, (2) through unprotected sex, and (3) from an infected mother to her developing baby.

First and foremost, the CDPH advises men and women of childbearing age to not go to areas with Zika. As you make travel plans, you can find out where Zika is present by visiting the following site:

If you or your partner must travel to an area with Zika presence, it is important to note that the virus is spread through sexual intercourse and can live in men for up to six months; women, 8 weeks. The only way to avoid the virus entirely is to abstain from sex entirely. Otherwise, safe sex should always be practiced.

Couples planning a pregnancy when either has been exposed to the Zika virus should speak with their healthcare provider about a safe time to try to get pregnant.

Otherwise, when traveling, be sure to use EPA-registered insect repellent for 3 weeks after you return to prevent the spread of Zika back home. See your doctor right away if you have Zika symptoms like fever, rash, red eyes or joint pain.

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