Worried about Zika? Prevention is Key!
There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika. The best way to protect yourself is to prevent mosquito bites. If you are traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses spread by mosquitoes are common, be sure to protect yourself with an EPA-registered insect repellent. If you have Zika, keep other people from getting sick and avoid mosquito bites. Find out more about ways to keep yourself and others safe from Zika. Learn More >>
What we know
- No vaccine exists to prevent Zika virus disease (Zika).
- Prevent Zika by avoiding mosquito bites (see below).
- Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime.
- Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.
- Prevent sexual transmission of Zika by using condoms or not having sex
Steps to prevent mosquito bites
When traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses spread by mosquitoes are found, take the following steps:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
- Always follow the product label instructions.
- Reapply insect repellent as directed.
- Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
- If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
- If you have a baby or child:
- Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
- Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, or
- Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
- Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
- Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
- Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
- Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
- If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
- Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.
If you have Zika, protect others from getting sick
- During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
- To help prevent others from getting sick, avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness.
- Zika virus can be spread by a man to his sex partners.
- We do not know how long the virus is present in the semen of men who have had Zika.
- We do know that the virus can be present in semen longer than in blood.
- To help prevent spreading Zika from sex, you can use condoms the right way every time you have sex. Not having sex is the best way to be sure that someone does not get sexually transmitted Zika virus.
If you are a man who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika
- If your partner is pregnant, either use condoms the right way every time you have vaginal, anal, and oral (mouth-to-penis) sex or they should not have sex during the pregnancy.
If you are concerned about getting Zika from a male sex partner
- You can use condoms the right way every time you have vaginal, anal, and oral (mouth-to-penis) sex. Condoms also prevent HIV and other STDs. Not having sex is the best way to be sure that you do not get sexually transmitted Zika virus.
Information for travelers
- Traveling? Visit CDC's Travelers Health website to see if the country you plan to visit has any travel health notices.
- Mosquito Bite Prevention for Travelers [PDF - 2 pages]
- Read the Traveler's Health Yellow Book for more information on Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas & Other Insects and Arthropods.