Zika! Zika! Zika! What you need to know

  • Published
  • By Public Health Office
  • 49th Medical Group

A majority of people have heard about the Zika virus and the infections in South and Central America, Mexico, the South Pacific and the Caribbean. The Holloman Medical Group Public Health has several tips Team Holloman needs to know about the Zika virus.

Since there is no vaccine to prevent Zika or medication to treat the virus, it is important to prevent mosquito bites. Some steps to help are:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

  • Stay in places with air conditioning, or have window and door screens.

  • Use insect repellent.

  • Treat uniform or clothing with permethrin.

  • These mosquitoes like to breed in small man-made containers filled with fresh water. Remove breeding habitats, such as buckets, birdbaths, dog bowls, old tires, gutters and other containers.

There have not been any locally acquired cases in the continental United States. All cases that have been reported in the U.S. were acquired during travel.

Holloman’s Public Health team, in conjunction with 49th Civil Engineer Pest Management, has started conducting mosquito surveillance, trapping, testing and abatement initiatives to eliminate/reduce breeding areas, as well as provide pesticide treatment as needed.

Humans become infected with Zika virus primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito.

The species that transmit Zika virus are the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus. These mosquitos typically bite during the day and have been found in the three neighboring counties of Dona Ana, Eddy and Chaves as well as in El Paso, Texas.  

Neither A. aegypti or A. albopictus have been found in Otero County or on Holloman AFB.

Symptoms of Zika virus are typically fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis or red eyes, muscle aches and headaches. The illness caused by Zika virus is usually mild, lasting several days to a week.

Full recovery is normal and deaths due to the virus are uncommon.

Zika is thought to be linked to a birth defect, microcephaly, in newborns, so it is even more important for pregnant women to practice appropriate personal protective equipment wear if/when traveling to an area with active transmission of the virus.

There have been an increasing number of sexually transmitted Zika cases as well.

Men who reside in or have traveled to an area of ongoing Zika virus transmission who have a pregnant partner should contact Public Health about safety and precautionary options.

For more information on Zika virus or prevention, Holloman’s Public Health team highly encourages members to visit the CDC Zika webpage at www.cdc.gov/zika or call the Public Health Office at (575) 572-3306 with any questions.

Anyone who has any travel history to a Zika endemic area and is exhibiting symptoms, should make an appointment with their PCM through the Appointment Line at (575) 572-2778.