US Navy Updated Zika Virus Infection Guidance
Navy Medicine released updated Zika Virus Infection guidance in NAVADMIN 121/16, May 26, communicating current information, travel precautions, and risk reduction measures to Navy and Marine Corps personnel.
"The updated NAVADMIN includes the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for the prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus; it also highlights recommendations for couples who are considering conception," said Cmdr. Alan Lam, deputy associate director, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) public health, emergency preparedness and response.
The updated NAVADMIN also directs installation commanders to implement the secretary of defense guidance to control Zika virus-transmitting mosquitoes at Navy installations and in housing areas. Installation commanding officers will ensure public health emergency officers and installation vector control staff coordinate their efforts with state and local counterparts.
BUMED has instructed Navy Medicine providers to follow clinical guidelines issued by the CDC. In addition, Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center issued an updated information sheet and trifold pamphlet on their public website for Navy and Marine Corps personnel.
"Navy Medicine implements the latest CDC guidelines and supports installation vector surveillance and control efforts; however, each member of the Navy and Marine Corps family must also do their part to ensure they are protected from the Zika virus," said Lam.
Zika is a viral infection primarily spread by a bite from an infected mosquito. The virus is also spread by a mother to her fetus during pregnancy, through blood transfusion, and by a man infected with Zika to his partner during sex. Typical symptoms include fever, conjunctivitis, muscle pain, rash, headache, and joint pain.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other birth defects.
Currently, Zika outbreaks are occurring in numerous Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, and throughout Central America and South America.
Navy and Marine Corps personnel are at risk when travelling to areas experiencing active Zika virus transmission. Infection risk is reduced by taking measures to avoid mosquito bites.
No vaccine or drug is currently available to prevent Zika virus infection, and there is currently no specific antiviral treatment for the disease. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid mosquito bites while in areas of active transmission and avoid unprotected sex with a man who may have been exposed to Zika. Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime, but bites should be avoided day and night.
The CDC recommends pregnant women postpone travel to any area with active Zika virus transmission. Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their Navy Medicine health care provider before traveling and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites.
The CDC also recommends that, for the duration of pregnancy, pregnant women avoid unprotected sex with any man who lives in or travels to an area of active Zika virus transmission.
The following steps are recommended for those traveling to an area with ongoing Zika virus transmission:
* Choose a hotel or lodging with air conditioning or with screens on windows and doors.
* Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are outside or in a room that is not well-screened.
* Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
* Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or IR3535. These are safe for pregnant women when used as directed.
* Use permethrin-treated clothing and equipment.
* Avoid unprotected sex with potentially exposed men.
* Use condoms the right way, every time you have sex.
Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 personnel that provide health care support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.