Poughkeepsie … As mosquito season draws to a close locally, the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health reminds residents to remain diligent about protecting themselves against mosquito bites when they travel to warmer climates, especially Zika virus affected areas.
“Pregnant women should continue to avoid all non-essential travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission and all travelers should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites when they visit these areas,” said Margaret Hirst, LCSW-R, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral & Community Health. “We routinely advise travelers to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of State’s websites for travel advisory recommendations.”
In 2016, there were eight cases of Zika virus, three cases of Dengue virus, and two cases of malaria diagnosed in Dutchess County residents associated with travel outside the continental United States. Additionally, one case of West Nile virus was confirmed in an individual with domestic travel prior to disease onset. To date, neither mosquito that transmits Zika virus has been found in Dutchess County.
The Department underscores the need for use of mosquito repellent when mosquitoes are active, both at home and abroad. Hirst recommends using an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites. Individuals can select an insect repellent by using the EPA tool located at www.epa.gov.
"Zika virus is not spread from person to person by casual contact,” said Hirst. “Zika virus can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact, therefore we recommend abstinence or consistent condom usage for anyone with recent travel history to Zika-affected areas. For pregnant women, it is especially important that condoms be used for the duration of their pregnancy.”
In addition, travel immunization recommendations may be found online at www.cdc.gov/travel and the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisories at www.state.gov. Both agencies provide travelers with resources from vaccine requirements to current political and economic environments.
For more information on how you can protect yourself from mosquitoes and other insects, visit www.dutchessny.gov/mosquito or call (845) 486-3438.