Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
March 17, 2016

Contact Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9356 or

Taking a Trip for Spring Break?
If You’re Traveling to a Zika-affected Area,
Protect Yourself from Mosquitoes

Lincoln—The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is reminding university and college students traveling during spring break to take special precautions if they’re going to countries with active Zika virus transmission. Zika has spread to 37 countries and territories worldwide including some popular spring break destinations such as Mexico and Puerto Rico. For the latest CDC list of travel advisories please visit

“There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Zika virus,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS.  “People traveling to Zika-affected areas should take precautions and protect themselves from mosquitoes. Travelers who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant in the near future should postpone their trip unless absolutely necessary.”

Proper mosquito prevention includes:

  •  Using and EPA-registered insect repellent properly
  •  Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  •  Staying in places with air conditioning or that have screens on doors and windows

So far, there have been 258 travel-related cases of Zika-virus in the United States and two in Nebraska. The primary mosquito (Aedes aegypti) that transmits Zika virus is found in tropical areas and the southern U.S., but is not established in Nebraska. 
Zika virus is primarily spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no evidence that the virus can be spread from person to person through casual contact, but it can be spread through sexual contact. Eighty percent of people infected with the Zika virus do not have any symptoms. When symptoms occur, they are often mild, lasting from several days to a week, and include fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and headache. While severe disease requiring hospitalization can occur, it’s uncommon. There are reports of a birth defect called microcephaly in babies of mothers who were infected with the Zika virus while pregnant. Microcephaly is a rare condition where a baby’s head is smaller than expected. Health officials are still investigating the link.   
For more information about Zika virus, visit