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Orange County California Association of Occupational Health Nurses

Recommendations for healthcare and laboratory workers for Zika Virus

Posted over 2 years ago by Fely Claudio

Dear colleagues,

Zika virus continues to be the most recent and concerning health alert for healthcare and laboratory workers. Please take a moment to review the following recommendations and precautions.

Recommendations for healthcare and laboratory workers for Zika Virus

Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted disease. It is spread to people through the bites from infected mosquitoes. There are instances where people have gotten Zika by having sex with an infected person. Sexual transmission is possible, and is a concern during pregnancy. Human-to-human spread of Zika virus is not the primary mode of transmission. Standard Precautions are recommended for Zika Virus.

Standard Precautions are designed to protect healthcare personnel and to prevent them from spreading infections to patients and apply to all patients in all healthcare settings. Because patients with Zika and many other types of infection may be asymptomatic, Standard Precautions should be used at all times.

Elements of Standard Precautions:

* Healthcare personnel must assess the likelihood of body fluid exposure, based on the type of contact and the nature of the procedure or activity, and use appropriate PPE
* Strict adherence to hand hygiene
* Standard precautions include the use of appropriate PPE to avoid direct contact with blood and other potentially infectious materials. PPE may include gloves, gowns, masks, and eye protection.
* Proper disposal of contaminated needles and sharps into a closable, puncture-resistant, leak-proof sharps container

Q: What are the symptoms of Zika?

* Most people who have Zika do not show any symptoms, so it is important to talk to your doctor if you plan to travel outside the United States. In pregnant women, Zika can cause serious brain damage and other birth defects in the fetus. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. The best protection against Zika is to prevent mosquito bites.

Q: Where has Zika been found?

* The Zika virus has recently spread through many countries in South and Central America. Mexico is also on the list of high-risk areas. For a full list of countries where Zika has been found, please visit cdc.gov. There has been no ongoing transmission of Zika in mainland United States. All cases of Zika in the US have been in people who have traveled to South/Central America.

Q: What does the CDC Recommend if I or my sexual partner travels to an area where Zika is being transmitted?

* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant postpone all travel to any of the affected areas.
* Transmission of Zika virus from mother to fetus has been seen in all trimesters.
* Recommendations for the partners of women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant: partners with recent travel to areas with Zika should not have sex or consistently use condoms for the duration of partner's pregnancy.

Q: How do I protect myself if I must travel?

* There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika.
* Strictly follow practices to avoid mosquito bites, general options include:
* Wear long sleeves and pants, consider mosquito-repellent clothing
* Use DEET insect repellant according to instructions. It is safe to use while pregnant.
* Use mosquito nets
* Use natural oil repellents such as citronella in sprays or as bracelets/anklets
* All travelers are advised to use condoms for any sexual activity

Q: What if I recently returned from traveling?

* See your healthcare provider if you are pregnant and develop fever, rash, joint pain, cold or flu-like symptoms or red eyes within 2 weeks after traveling to a country where Zika virus cases have been reported.
* Be sure to tell your healthcare provider where you and your partner have traveled.

To learn more, contact EIP at 714-456-5221 or visit the EIP SharePoint site<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001Qvrv-zB7Y5G9cMbinnq-dansApYPKtJ-Wnf5mozET52C4qVSJfxVi5yfbMC5FTl8Xme0M1xK87FKE6S5iW6LX_gZL_sy4xe3EhCJrIH1vqRL96O8006lUBg8WKq-9EVI76AVQIWhq-G51lfn0xneJkFrHTxTpGknFMa_bVvZRpLJD-XKwLw1f7IedzdynslP8D5rKd8XxNTWL2UBkhiWW92WmjvOhFtD-RBaSERRAdBRhW_OVq4SsBo-xUSiPkWRYe1zhZ9PUJ7jaWp5BJeNHA==&c=xbY0GPqCKDf1Tk9_n9Boak-1Hw9SAS3IXHw6vf462xOGV-5cGPLkyw==&ch=8Xh_Tnpt9RtgRDrpPpck6brI0siAlEzypF1guziqZXDwztnfKz1C2Q==>.


Shruti Gohil, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor

Susan Huang, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor


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