CDC Alert Level 2 – Zika Virus in the Pacific Islands

Updated: 11/30/2016

Alert – Level 2, Practice Enhances Precautions

What is the current situation?

In November 2015, Samoa reported local transmission of Zika virus infection (Zika). Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area have been infected with Zika virus, spreading it to people. Since then, the following destinations in the Pacific Islands have reported ongoing transmission of Zika:

Because Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes, CDC recommends that travelers to the Pacific Islands protect themselves from mosquito bites.

Sexual transmission of Zika virus is also possible, so you should use condoms or not have sex during your trip.

Many people infected with Zika virus do not get sick. Among those who do develop symptoms, sickness is usually mild, with symptoms that last for several days to a week. Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare disorder that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis for a few weeks to several months. CDC research suggests that GBS is strongly associated with Zika; however, only a small proportion of people with recent Zika virus infection get GBS. Most people fully recover from GBS, but some have permanent damage. For more information, see Zika and GBS.

As more information becomes available, this travel notice will be updated. Please check back frequently for the most up-to-date recommendations.

What can travelers do to prevent Zika?

There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. You can protect yourself by preventing mosquito bites:

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE, also called para-menthane-diol [PMD]), IR3535, or 2-undecanone (methyl nonyl ketone). Always use as directed.
    • Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.
    • Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children older than 2 months. (OLE should not be used on children younger than 3 years.)
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
  • Mosquito netting can be used to cover babies younger than 2 months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs to protect them from mosquito bites.