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Published On: Fri, Apr 22nd, 2016

Occupational Exposure to Zika Virus: OSHA, CDC issue guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued new guidance and information for protecting workers from occupational exposure to Zika virus.

Image/CDC

Image/CDC

It provides interim guidance for outdoor workers, healthcare and laboratory workers, mosquito control workers, and business travelers to protect against occupational exposure to Zika virus; guidance and recommendations for employers to use to protect their workers and  guidance and recommendations for workers to consider to protect themselves from mosquito bites and exposure to an infected person’s blood or other body fluids.

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes. There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection, and there is no specific treatment for people who become infected. Although Zika virus is primarily spread by infected mosquitoes, exposure to an infected person’s blood or other body fluids may also result in transmission.

Outdoor workers may be at the greatest risk of exposure to Zika virus.  Some workers, including those working with insecticides in areas of active Zika transmission to control mosquitoes and healthcare workers who may be exposed to contaminated blood or other potentially infectious materials from people infected with Zika virus, may require additional protection.

Although there are no reports of transmission of Zika virus from infected patients to health care personnel or other patients, minimizing exposure to body fluids is important to reduce the possibility of such transmission. CDC has previously recommended Standard Precautions in all health care settings to protect both health care personnel and patients from infection with Zika virus as well as from blood-borne pathogens (e.g., human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] and hepatitis C virus [HCV]).

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