CDC Issues Travel Advisory Due to Zika Virus in the Americas

CDC Issues Travel Advisory Due to Zika Virus in the Americas

Despite the winter weather of the past week, it’s time to begin thinking about spring and summer travel plans—and ways to stay healthy and safe while traveling. One important step is to review travel alerts issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recently issued a Travel Alert Level 2 for regions and certain countries in Central and South America, advising people to “Practice Enhanced Precautions” due to ongoing Zika virus transmission. Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika virus disease. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites: Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or IR3535. (Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label. Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children ages two months and older.) Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear such as boots, pants, socks and tents. Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild, with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe illness requiring hospitalization is uncommon, and many infected people show no symptoms at all. However, Zika virus can also spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. There have been reports of a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Until more is...
UPDATE: Public Health Emergency Exercise Rescheduled for February 24

UPDATE: Public Health Emergency Exercise Rescheduled for February 24

UPDATE: Based on the winter weather forecast for the coming days, the full-scale public health emergency preparedness exercise will be rescheduled for February 24. This decision is intended to keep everyone safe and prevent over-extending critical staff in the event of an adverse weather event this weekend.   ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Transylvania Public Health and several partner agencies will be conducting a full-scale public health emergency preparedness exercise at the Transylvania County Parks and Recreation Activities Center on Tuesday, Jan. 26. This exercise will allow public health staff and emergency responders to practice the roles that would be put into action during a high demand, high consequence public health emergency and assess current plans and capabilities to ensure that they would be able to meet the community’s needs in a real emergency. This particular exercise will simulate an incident that requires the distribution and dispensing of medications from the Strategic National Stockpile. The exercise will begin at 9:00 a.m. and is expected to conclude by 2:00 p.m. Residents should expect to see an unusual amount of activity in and around the Transylvania County Parks and Recreation Activities Center and Transylvania Regional Hospital, including the presence of emergency vehicles on the day of the exercise. Residents should not be alarmed by these activities; they are necessary to allow staff to practice the roles they would play in an actual emergency. As part of the exercise, staff and volunteers will work to demonstrate operational communications, coordination, public health and medical services capabilities associated with the dispensing of medical countermeasures. Exercise operations will include providing security at the scene, setting up and operating...