Airport, state health commissioner advise Zika precautions for travelers

Georgia's public health commissioner said travelers returning from Zika-affected areas should continue to use insect repellent with DEET for three weeks after returning.

Shops at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport now stock Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents in the domestic and international terminals and on the concourses. The concessionaires have stocked travel sizes of repellent, and sell larger sizes on the concourses.

The Zika virus is primarily transmitted by infected mosquitoes. But, "not all of the inspect repellents are sufficiently strong to protect someone from a mosquito bite," said Brenda Fitzgerald, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health.


The state public health department recommends insect repellents that are 20 to 30 percent DEET. Travelers who want to bring their own mosquito repellent can pack larger spray bottles in checked bags or travel-size containers of 3.4 oz or less in carry-on bags.

"This is something that is preventable from spreading," said Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Miguel Southwell.

About 80 percent of those infected with Zika do not know they're sick and do not have the typical symptoms such as fever, headache, rash and muscle pain.

Fitzgerald said all of the cases in the United States so far have been associated with travel. In Georgia, a total of 11 cases of Zika have been reported so far.

"It's very important for the safety of Americans that when you come home from your vacation, you continue to use mosquito repellent," Fitzgerald said.

But there have also been cases of sexual transmission of Zika, and the CDC advises that men whose wives are pregnant use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy after returning from a trip to a Zika-affected country.

The state public health department also advises residents to eliminate standing water from their yards.

"At this point, mosquitoes are beginning to hatch across the state," Fitzgerald said.


Zika virus FAQ from the Georgia Department of Public Health

Countries and territories with active Zika transmission from the CDC

Hartsfield-Jackson banners: Protect & Prevent, You May Have Zika, Don't Let This Bad Bug Bite, Returning from these Countries

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.