The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are monitoring the Zika virus outbreak spreading through Central and South America, Mexico, and parts of the Caribbean, including U.S. territories.
Some U.S. states have mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread Zika virus, and travel-associated Zika virus infections in U.S. states may result in local spreading of the virus. The Florida Department of Health has identified two areas of Miami-Dade County where Zika is being spread by mosquitoes. In addition to the previously identified area in the Wynwood neighborhood, there is now mosquito-borne spread of Zika virus in a section of Miami Beach.
The Zika virus is primarily spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Workers who are exposed on the job to mosquitoes or the blood or other body fluids of infected individuals may be at risk for occupationally acquired Zika virus infection. Many people who get infected never have symptoms. In people who get sick, symptoms (fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes) are usually mild and resolve completely.
The key to not getting the Zika virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants and use EPA-registered insect repellents that contain one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol. Always use as directed.
Also control mosquitoes in and outside the worksite. Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs. Tightly cover water storage containers so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.