PreventionZika virus: is it possible to prevent infection?The most effective preventive measure against the Zika virus is to avoid mosquito bites in endemic areas, using repellents, suitable and protective clothing.
Furthermore, to prevent the spread of infection, mosquito nets should be applied above the beds, on the doors and on the windows, as well as taking all measures to reduce the infestation by mosquitoes in outdoor environments:
Reduce sites that support vector reproduction such as natural and man-made water-filled containers;Correct disposal of sewage water and removal of municipal solid waste;
Periodic interventions of disinfestation and elimination of water collections that can be used for the development of the larvae.
Advice for travelers
Anyone embarking on a trip to an area endemic for Zika runs the potential risk of becoming infected. From this point of view, the categories most at risk, such as pregnant women, people with chronic diseases and immunocompromised, should use the utmost caution.
In general, travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:Use insect repellent on exposed skin. These products should contain DEET (N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide), IR3535 or picaridin. Always follow the instructions on the repellent label and keep in mind that sweat will reduce its effect.
Pregnant women and children should consult their doctor before using these products, while particular attention should be paid to children under the age of 3 months, for whom their use is instead not recommended.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, which do not leave light-colored body parts uncovered, as dark clothing attracts mosquitoes. It is important to remember that some disease-carrying mosquitoes are not only active in the evening, but also during the day.
Use mosquito nets on windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering the rooms where you stay (better if impregnated with repellent substances).
Aedes mosquitoes live in a wide range of habitats and can breed in small pools of water. These can collect in tires, flowerpots, cans, baby pools, drainpipes and all other open containers. Preventing the formation of standing water is a measure to prevent mosquitoes from proliferating.
When necessary, it is possible to resort to chemical products or biological control against the vector (adult larvae and mosquitoes).Finally, it is very important that viraemic patients avoid being bitten by Aedes mosquitoes, in order not to facilitate the further spread of the Zika virus.
The Zika Virus is a Flavivirus belonging to the Flaviviridae family, which includes similar viruses, also carried by mosquitoes, which can cause diseases such as Dengue, Japanese Encephalitis, West Nile fever.
Epidemiological pictureTraditionally present in tropical regions such as Asia and Africa, Zika Virus caused the first documented epidemic outside these continents as early as 2007 and, since 2013, cases and outbreaks of disease have been reported in the Western Pacific and the Americas.
Given the widespread environmental spread of the vector mosquito, facilitated by urbanization and globalization, there is the possibility of large urban epidemics of Zika Virus disease occurring globally; for now, however, there is no evidence of transmission of the virus in Europe and import cases are rare but increasing.