Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) urges residents to be safe when they travel and be aware of the Zika virus (pronunciation: zee-kah), carried by mosquitoes. Residents in Cobb and Douglas counties should understand the possible dangers of the Zika virus as more information from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) continues to circulate regarding the disease.
These agencies caution travelers headed to Central American countries where transmission of Zika virus has been ongoing, particularly for pregnant women, and urge travelers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. The CDC has issued several travel notices indicating where the Zika virus has been reported
There is a danger of travelers going to areas where the virus is being spread and becoming sick after returning home to the U.S. Returning travelers also have the potential to spread the virus because mosquitoes become infected when they bite a person while they are infectious. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites. According to the CDC, the spread of the virus through blood or sexual contact has also been reported.
Symptoms of Zika include: fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. CDPH asks residents to speak to their healthcare provider if they experience any of these symptoms and have traveled to the affected countries in the two weeks prior to symptom onset.
There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat the Zika virus, but there are precautions returning travelers and residents can take to protect themselves from mosquitos. The best way to do this is to observe the following tips known as “The Five D’s.”
The Five D’s
- Daytime – Mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus usually bite during the daytime. Protect yourself.
- Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
- DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
- Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water because they can be excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
- Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.
For more information about the Zika virus, please visit cdc.gov/zika or dph.georgia.gov/zika-virus.