Zika is a mosquito-borne viral illness. Mosquitos can become infected when they bite infected persons and can then spread the Zika virus to other persons they subsequently bite. In some instances, having direct contact with infected body fluids of an infected person may result in transmission of the virus.
Science-based evidence suggests that only 20% of the infected persons will have symptoms. These symptoms are usually mild and include rash, fever, joint pain, and red eyes.
Zika virus can spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus and has been linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly.
These mosquitoes are day time and night time biters so precautions should be taken at all times. Excellent information on prevention is available from the following websites:
The basic protection steps are
- Applying appropriate insect repellent. (Active ingredients should include DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535
- Wearing clothing over exposed skin- long sleeve shirts and pants
- Removing standing water
- Covering trash cans where water can collect
Students and staff can carry and self-apply insect repellent. Repellent in spray form will only be applied out-of-doors to prevent any reactions to those sensitive to the repellant ingredients.
Parents and students are encouraged to apply the repellent at home before school. Most repellants have an active life of around 6-7 hours and should not be applied again outside of the recommended product instructions.