Zika Virus

The Zika virus is spread through mosquitoes and there is significant concern that pregnant women infected with the Zika virus could be at risk of spreading the infection to their unborn child resulting in suspected cases of Microcephaly.
Travel advisories have been posted for many countries in South America, Central America and southern portions of North America ‐ including countries where Dow has operations. It is important to be informed in order to protect yourself and your loved ones from potential infection:

Preventive Methods

  • Review U.S. CDC Mosquito Bite Prevention for Travelers.
  • Do not travel to areas where Zika is prevalent.
  • Avoid mosquito bites where outbreaks have been reported.
  • Use insect repellent.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants.
  • Stay in areas with air conditioning or rooms that use window and door screens.
  • Use barrier methods during sex, such as a condom, to prevent any chance of transmission.
  • Practice abstinence or barrier method. Sexual transmission of Zika virus still appears rare at present, but all authorities are advocating a very cautious approach. In general, abstinence or male condom use is recommended for two months after risk travel with no compatible symptoms. Symptomatic travelers should ideally abstain from sex pending test results and seek expert advice if Zika infection is proven.
  • Defer blood donations for 28 days after return (This recommendation may vary by region and country).
  • Avoid mosquito bites during the first week upon return regardless if you have symptoms or not. (It is estimated that 80% of people who are infected with the Zika virus are asymptomatic and therefore do not realize they are infected. Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites).

Transmission

  • The primary mode of transmission of the Zika virus continues to be through bites of an infected Aedes species mosquito in regions where the Zika virus is prevalent.
  • Significant concern that pregnant women infected with the Zika virus could be at risk of spreading the infection to their unborn child resulting in suspected cases of Microcephaly. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC), transmission of the Zika virus cannot be spread through breast feeding and mothers are still encouraged to breastfeed even in areas where the Zika virus is prevalent.
  • Those that have the potential of being infected with the Zika virus should use barrier methods during sex, such as a condom, to prevent any chance of transmission.
  • Blood donor agencies have also recommended that donors that have been to Zika risk areas defer their donations for 28 days after return. This recommendation may vary by region and country.

Health Risks

  • The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week.
  • There are potential links between the Zika virus and cases of Microcephaly and Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Travel Advisory

  • Females who are pregnant should avoid travel to regions where Zika is prevalent.
  • Talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection before you travel to areas where Zika is prevalent.
  • Men who have traveled to an area with Zika and have a pregnant partner should use condoms or not have sex during the pregnancy.
  • Anyone considering travel to a Zika infected region should consult with your doctor first and/or Dow Health Services in addition to following steps to prevent mosquito bites during your visit to areas where outbreaks have been identified.
Dow Health Services will continue to provide information related to the Zika virus to Dow employees. Please contact Dow Health Services with any health-related questions or concerns.