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Public Health Recommendations for Prevention and Treatment of Zika Virus

What do public health experts tell us about the prevention and treatment of this serious infection?

Adequate public health preventive measures, including public education and mosquito bite prevention, should be implemented quickly after the diagnosis of an imported case. Other control measures include the isolation of the patient during the viremic phase and vector control activities centered on the case’s residence, including spraying adult mosquitoes and destruction of larval breeding sites. The roles of clinicians are crucial including the early diagnosis of imported arboviruses such as Zika infection and the timely notification of public health authorities. Clinicians should be aware of current outbreaks in parts of the world that are popular tourist destinations. This is especially important for newly emerging and possibly devastating diseases with specific public health implications. Imported cases should be suspected in travelers who develop compatible symptoms within 1 to 2 weeks after returning from endemic areas. Cross-reactive dengue viral serology (IgG or IgM) during Zika infection may be used as a screening test to identify subjects, since commercial serologic tests for dengue are widely available.

Taking into account possible cross-reactions among different viruses belonging to the Flavi virus family when using current serologic tests, an approach combining direct and indirect detection techniques, as well as neutralization assay for confirmation, should be utilized. Public health experts highlight the need of improving pre-travel advice and consultation for travelers planning to visit countries in which various arboviruses are endemic.