By BRENDAN KRISEL
May 25, 2017
NEW YORK, NY — The Zika virus may not be grabbing many headlines these days, but city officials announced Thursday that New Yorkers traveling abroad this summer should still take precautions to avoid contracting the disease.
The city Health and Human Services Department warned that New Yorkers — both men and women — who are trying to conceive with their partners should avoid traveling to areas where the Zika virus is still being transmitted. These areas include the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and South America, the department said in its warning. The virus is no longer circulating in Miami-Dade County, Florida or Brownsville, Texas.
“This season, our campaign and awareness efforts are shaped by what we learned over the past year. Although local transmission of the Zika virus remains unlikely, the virus continues to circulate in Latin America and the Caribbean islands,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement. “We urge women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, along with their sexual partners, to avoid traveling to these areas.”
As of last week, 1,067 New Yorkers have contracted the disease while traveling abroad or from a partner who traveled abroad. Of those who contracted the disease, 402 are pregnant woman. So far, 32 babies were born in New York with defects consistent with Zika virus or have tested positive for the virus, according to city officials.
To avoid spreading the disease men should use condoms for six months after returning from an area affected by Zika and women should avoid getting pregnant for two months after returning from such areas, the health department said.
Despite that fact that no local transmissions were reported in the city last year, the health department will continue to monitor local mosquito populations, city officials said.
“Just because a health threat is no longer in the news, it isn’t any less dangerous,” Chair of the City Council’s health committee Corey Johnson said in a statement. “Reminding New Yorkers who travel during the summer months that certain precautions need to be taken to avoid the Zika virus is every bit as important now as it was last year.”
To find a full list of areas still affected by the Zika virus, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.