What does the Zika virus outbreak mean for NJ?
- There are no mosquitoes carrying the virus in the U.S. at this time.
- Based on the New Jersey Department of Health's experience with other travel-related, mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue and chikungunya that cause similar symptoms, New Jersey does not expect to see outbreaks such as those ongoing in the Caribbean, and Central and South America. New Jersey also has one of the best mosquito surveillance and control systems in the nation.
- New Jersey did have one travel-related case of Zika confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control just before Christmas 2015 in an individual who lives and works in Colombia. The individual fully recovered and has returned to Colombia.
- There is no health risk to the public related to that one travel-related case because the individual, who was visiting Bergen County at the end of November, was exposed in Colombia, where she resides. She has recovered and returned to Colombia.
How do the risks of the Zika virus increase on a college campus with several students studying abroad?
- Anyone who gets bitten by an infected mosquito can become infected with Zika.
- Zika needs a means of transportation to infect people. Usually that is a mosquito.
- If an individual has Zika, they should avoid mosquito bites for the first week of their illness.
- During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
How can students insure their protection from the Zika virus?
- The best way to prevent Zika is to avoid mosquito bites when traveling to an area where Zika is present.
- Use insect repellent.
- When indoors, use air conditioning, window screens or insecticide-treated mosquito netting to keep mosquitoes out.
- Empty and change standing water from containers such as flowerpots, pet dishes and bird baths.
- Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
- There is no vaccine or preventive drug available at this time.
- Visit a clinician with expertise in travel medicine before a planned trip.
This is not a huge risk in the winter, right?
- There are currently no mosquitoes carrying the virus in the U.S.
- Based on our experience with other illnesses that cause similar symptoms, New Jersey does not expect to see outbreaks such as those ongoing in the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
- This is an evolving situation we are taking very seriously by working with our partners to spread awareness.
For additional information:
DOH's Zika page with FAQs, infographics and more
CDC's Zika page
DOH's social media channels