As the Zika virus continues to spread, officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created a list of precautions to help outdoor workers, healthcare and laboratory personnel, and mosquito control workers avoid infection.
For outdoor workers, the prevention strategies center around using insect repellents, wearing clothing that provides a barrier against mosquitoes, and removing sources of standing water. For people working in healthcare settings and laboratories, OSHA and the CDC urge following good infection control and biosafety practices, including universal precautions to minimize the transmission of Zika virus, and when appropriate to wear gloves, gowns, masks, and eye protection.
Outdoor workers could be at the highest risk of catching the Zika virus, according to the guidance document.
Taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites is especially important when traveling to a Zika-affected area. OSHA and CDC also advised that workers should consider delaying travel if they may become pregnant, or have sexual partners who may become pregnant. The CDC recommends that pregnant women in any trimester avoid travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission.
“Even if they do not feel sick, travelers returning to the United States from an area with Zika should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for three weeks so they do not pass Zika to mosquitoes that could spread the virus to other people,” according to the guidance.
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