The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is alerting the public of the potential to contract Zika virus while traveling abroad. Zika virus is a virus spread to people through Aedes mosquito bites, similar to dengue fever or West Nile virus. Two residents of Illinois have tested positive for the Zika virus at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both individuals had traveled in late December to a country where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
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 disease that requires treatment at a hospital is uncommon.
“There is virtually no risk to Illinois residents since you cannot contract Zika virus from another person, but only through the bite of an infected mosquito,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “But since this is a time of year when people travel to warmer climates and countries where Zika virus is found, we are urging residents, especially pregnant women, to take preventive measures when traveling in affected countries and check health travel advisories.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel alert (Level 2- Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing, including: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This alert follows reports in Brazil of a birth defect called microcephaly, or an unusually small head, and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.
Until more is known, CDC recommends that pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women, women trying to become pregnant, or women who are thinking about becoming pregnant and must travel to one of these areas should talk with their doctor or other health care provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Travelers can protect themselves from this disease by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites such as using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, and staying in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.
Source: CDC website http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html (01/21/16);
Spread the Word - Not the Flu - Practice the 3 Cs
The Skokie Health Department is gearing up for the next flu season. The flu is a respiratory (breathing) illness with a fever over 100ºF and a cough, sore throat or nasal congestion. Here is some important information to stay healthy and minimize influenza in the community:
Prevention is the Key!
- Cover: Remember to cover a cough or sneeze with the elbow or a tissue.
- Clean: Remember to frequently wash your hands with soap and water.
- Contain: If you are ill, do not go to work or school.
If you have any questions or concerns, or we can assist you in any way, please call the Skokie Health Department 847/933-8252 or click here for the CDC website.
World Aids Day December 1
World AIDS Day is a global initiative to raise awareness, fight prejudice, and improve education about HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. World AIDS Day is December 1.
Around the world, about 35 million people are living with HIV. In the United States, about 50,000 people get infected with HIV every year.
It’s important that everyone ages 15 to 65 gets tested for HIV at least once. Some people may need to get tested more often. In the United States, about 1 in 5 people who have HIV don’t know it.
How often you need to get tested depends on your risk for HIV infection. Talk to your doctor or nurse about your risk for HIV. Get tested for HIV at least once a year if you:
- Have sex without a condom with someone who may have HIV
- Have sex with men who have sex with men. If you are a man who has sex with men, you may need to get tested more often – like every 3 to 6 months.
- Use drugs with needles.
- Have a sex partner who has HIV.
- Have had a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- Have sex with more than one partner
- Have sex with people you don’t know
- Have sex for drugs or money
HIV is passed from one person to another by:
- Having unprotected sex with a person who has HIV
- Sharing needles with someone who has HIV
- Breastfeeding, pregnancy, or childbirth if the mother has HIV
- Getting a transfusion of blood that’s infected with HIV (very rare in the United States)
Learn more about HIV/AIDS and how to prevent this disease at the following websites: