Newsroom > DHHS News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2018
Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9356
Trading Winter Cold for a Warmer Climate This Spring Break?
DHHS says don’t forget to pack bug spray
Note: Sound bites on this topic will be available shortly at www.dhhs.ne.gov/audio Lincoln
– The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is reminding students and families traveling during spring break to prevent mosquito bites if they’re going to areas or countries where diseases spread by mosquitoes, like Zika virus, dengue, chikungunya, malaria and Yellow fever, are currently circulating. More than 80 countries and territories have detected Zika including some popular spring break destinations such as Mexico and islands in the Caribbean. In the United States, local transmission of Zika was previously reported in Florida and Texas.
State health officials say find out if your spring break destination is an affected area and if it is, be sure to take precautions to protect yourself from mosquitoes.
“Wherever your travels may take you, it’s important to stay healthy and safe,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS. “Prevent mosquito bites by using an EPA-registered insect repellent properly, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants and staying in places with air conditioning or that have screens on doors and windows.”
Also, talk to a travel medicine specialist or a health care provider prior to your trip about any vaccines or medications you might need.
During 2017, six cases of Zika, one case of dengue and three cases of chikungunya were reported in travelers returning to Nebraska. The primary mosquito (Aedes aegypti) that transmits Zika, dengue, and chikungunya viruses is found in tropical areas and the southern U.S., but is not established in the state.
Mosquito-borne diseases are primarily spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no evidence that the illnesses can be spread from person to person through casual contact, but some like Zika virus can be spread through sexual contact. Protecting yourself from mosquito bites while traveling is the best way to avoid becoming ill while traveling. Travelers should also visit their health care provider right away if they develop fever, headache, rash, muscle or joint pain shortly after returning from travel.