The DuPage County Health Department, along with regional partners, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are carefully monitoring the Zika virus cases in the United States and elsewhere in the world.
The Health Department wants all DuPage County residents to be aware that the risk of Zika virus is very low in DuPage County. The mosquito vector that carries Zika virus is rarely found here or elsewhere in northern Illinois, especially in winter time. Most cases within the United States have been travel-related.
Zika virus cases are being reported in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Africa and elsewhere. Zika virus is spread by mosquito bites. People living in or traveling to those areas are at risk for infection. Symptoms of Zika virus are usually mild and last for several days; hospitalization is uncommon. Contact your healthcare provider if you have plans to travel to those areas.
Zika virus may be transmitted from a pregnant woman to a fetus during pregnancy or at the time of birth. Studies have found poor pregnancy outcomes in some babies whose mothers were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. This includes microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. A direct link between Zika virus and microcephaly has not been established, but studies continue.
Until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for women who are pregnant (in any trimester) to consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip. Women who are trying to become pregnant should also talk to their doctor before traveling, about their plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection.
For more information visit IDPH: http://www.dph.illinois.gov/ or CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/.