According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, travelers returning from Zika-affected areas should take measures to avoid mosquito bites for three weeks after returning to the United States, even if they show no symptoms of the virus. Following are guidelines issued for travelers to the Olympic Games in Brazil that travelers to other areas should heed.
Yes, if you have Zika you can pass it to other people. You can spread Zika to mosquitoes, who can then spread it to other people around you; if a mosquito bites you while you are infected and the virus is still in your blood, that mosquito can spread the virus by biting another person. To prevent spreading Zika through mosquitoes, you should prevent mosquito bites for three weeks after traveling. This is important to do even if you don't feel sick, since many people do not know they have Zika.
You can also spread Zika through sex. You should use condoms for eight weeks after your trip to avoid spreading Zika to your sex partners. Zika virus can stay in semen longer than in blood, but we don't know exactly how long Zika stays in semen. If you are a man and you have Zika symptoms, you should continue using condoms for six months after your symptoms start. If your partner is pregnant, you should use condoms or not have sex for the rest of the pregnancy.
A pregnant woman with Zika can also pass it to her fetus during the pregnancy or around the time of birth.
Click here for the CDC's latest information and traveler resources. Go to mcmag.com/zika for M&C's industry-related coverage of the virus.