The most common form of transmission is through infected mosquitoes. A pregnant woman can also pass the virus to her fetus; Zika is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Sexual transmission is also possible. Transmission through blood transfusion has not been documented in the United States, and all blood donations in Florida are currently being screened for Zika virus.

The following tips will help you protect yourself and your community from the virus.

Mosquito Control

Eliminate Standing Water

Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home, business and/or school by eliminating standing water. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water, so it is critical to drain all sources of standing water — no matter how small — to keep mosquitoes from multiplying.

  • Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.  
  • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren’t being used.  
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pets’ water bowls at least once or twice a week.
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.  
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and keep them appropriately chlorinated.
  • Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

More Resources

Mosquito Bite Prevention

The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites. Follow these tips to decrease the likelihood of being bitten:

Use insect repellant

  • Repellant should have any of the following active ingredients:
    • DEET (up to 30%)
    • Picaridin
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus
    • Para-menthane diol
    • IR3535
  • Always follow product label instructions and make sure repellent is age-appropriate.
  • It is safe for pregnant or nursing women to use EPA-approved repellents if applied according to package label instructions.
  • Apply repellent on bare skin or clothing, not under clothing.

Cover skin with long-sleeved shirts and long pants

  • Apply a permethrin repellent directly to clothing or purchase pre-treated clothing. Follow the manufacturer’s directions and do not apply directly to the skin.

For more information on mosquito bite prevention visit: Mosquito-borne Prevention.

Plan for Travel

Before Traveling

Before you travel, check to see if your destination is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of areas with Zika. To see a list of travel health notices issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention please visit: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notice.

When choosing a hotel or lodging, select one with air conditioning or screens on windows and doors. If sleeping outside or in a room that is not screened, use a mosquito bed net.

While You’re Traveling

Travelers to a tropical or sub-tropical area (Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America) can protect themselves from Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases by following the prevention tips above (see Mosquito Bite Prevention).

After Traveling

If you have recently traveled overseas to an area with Zika, it is crucial that you prevent mosquito bites for at least three weeks after you return home in order to avoid spreading the infection to local mosquitoes. Keep in mind that you could have become infected even if you do not show any symptoms.

Sexual Transmission

Zika can be passed through sex from a person with Zika to his or her partners, even if the infected person does not have symptoms at the time. Condoms (both male and female) can reduce the chance of getting Zika from sex. To be effective, condoms should be used from start to finish during vaginal, anal and oral sex. Not engaging in these activities also eliminates the risk of sexually transmitted Zika.

Below are more facts about sexual transmission of Zika:

  • Evidence suggests that men can pass Zika to their male or female sexual partners, and females can pass Zika to their male, and possibly female, sexual partners.
  • According to CDC guidance, pregnant woman with sex partners (male or female) who live in or who have traveled to an area with active Zika virus transmission should use barrier methods against infection or do not have sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
  • A man who has been diagnosed with Zika or has had symptoms should consider using condoms or abstaining from sex for at least 6 months after symptoms begin. This includes men who live in and men who traveled to areas with Zika.
  • A man who has traveled to an area with Zika but did not develop symptoms should consider using condoms or abstaining from sex for at least 8 weeks after his return.
  • Couples that include a non-pregnant female and one partner who has confirmed or suspected Zika virus infection (or who has traveled to a Zika-endemic area but has not developed symptoms) should either use barrier methods against infection or abstain from sexual contact.