Zika virus, mosquitoes and travel information

If you are concerned about the Zika and your travel plans, the Monmouth County Mosquito Control Division provides some helpful tips and information. Zika  is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito.  The mosquito involved in the transmission of this virus to people is Aedes aegypti, a tropical species not found in New JerseyAedes albopictus, known as the Asian tiger mosquito, may also transmit the disease and is quite common in New Jersey. 

Planning a trip
Currently, the risk of infection is highest for those travelling in countries where transmission of Zika is active. Check the CDC’s website for the most up-to-date list of countries and travel advisories http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-information

When you travel
We urge those who visit affected countries to take personal precautions to avoid being bitten by any mosquitoes while there.

  • Use Insect Repellent
  • Repellent should be applied anytime you are outdoors while in a Zika affected area. 
    Only repellents with one of the following active ingredients have been demonstrated to be effective: picaridin, DEET, IR3535, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus with PMD.  All other active ingredients are not recommended.
  • If you are also using sunscreen, the repellent should be applied after the sunscreen. Always read and follow all product label instructions.

Use Mosquito Netting for Beds
In many Zika affected areas window and door screens may be lacking. Aedes aegypti are commonly found inside buildings in tropical and subtropical regions so your exposure to the Zika virus is not limited to the outdoors. If available, use mosquito nets for beds, especially repellent treated ones.

When returning home
Since Aedes albopictus, aka the Asian tiger mosquito, is found in New Jersey, there is a very slight chance that a local mosquito could pick up the virus from an infected traveler when he or she returns home.   The CDC now recommends a traveler to avoid mosquito bites for at least 3 weeks after returning from a Zika affected country. This is particularly important to residents of southern states where Aedes aegypti are found. Use the same insect repellents recommended above.

More than just Zika
While Zika virus is understandably being highlighted in the media, Monmouth County residents should be concerned about mosquito-borne illnesses already present in the county like West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Always use repellents whenever working or playing outdoors. 

All mosquitoes require water to develop from egg to adult so you can reduce your chances of being bitten by eliminating standing water around your home. Use our checklist to guide you through your own yard audit.

The Monmouth County Mosquito Control Division’s primary purpose is to significantly reduce the chances of residents and visitors being bitten by mosquitoes. In doing so, we protect public health while preserving quality of life. To that end, the division monitors the worldwide spread of the Zika virus and will be ready to respond in the unlikely event that it emerges in our county.

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