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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: April 8, 2016


DOVER, DE (April 8, 2016) - The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced today new Zika public education materials targeting pregnant women and their male partners. Updated information and links to educational materials can be found at: dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/zika.html.Zika, a generally mild illness, has been linked to serious birth defects in Brazil and other countries and is most often spread by mosquitoes. Transmission can occur from a mother to her fetus. Sexual transmission from male to female has also been confirmed. Delaware has three Zika cases caused by mosquito bites while traveling abroad, and pregnancy is not an issue.

"For the vast majority of people who may be exposed to Zika, it will not cause any serious health problems," said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. "However, pregnant women and their male partners with a travel history to the countries with Zika should be concerned and take precautions because of the potentially very serious birth defects linked to the disease"

Zika outbreaks have been reported in Central and South America and the Caribbean. For an up-to-date list of CDC travel warnings, visit wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-information. Anyone who lives or travels in the impacted areas can be infected.

Precautions for pregnant women or women who may get pregnant:

Precautions for women or men who may have been exposed and are sexually active:

"Condoms serve two important functions - preventing conception and stopping the spread of disease," said DPH Medical Director Dr. Awe Maduka-Ezeh. "Even after a woman is pregnant, if her male partner was exposed to Zika, condoms should be used correctly every time during the entire pregnancy to stop potential disease transmission."

Zika is a generally mild illness caused by a virus primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. The U.S. has 312 reported travel-associated cases, including the three confirmed cases in Delaware.

About one in five people infected with the virus develop the disease, and most people who are infected do not develop symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms typically begin two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. In rare cases, it also may be transmitted sexually in semen.

To report a potential illness or receive further guidance on testing, call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 302-744-4990. For copies of flyers and more educational tools, see the below links.

To learn more about DNREC Mosquito Control Section efforts to combat biting mosquitoes this season, visit: www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/mosquito/Pages/default.aspx.

For further information for pregnant women and their male partners:

Zika FAQs and mosquito control tips:

General Zika information:

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person's spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.