Aedes mosquito
Aedes mosquito

Zika and Spring Break Travel: What You Need to Know

Author: Public Health Department
Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 4:19 PM

The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department advises residents that many popular spring break destinations throughout Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Pacific Islands have outbreaks of Zika virus.


The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department advises residents that many popular spring break destinations throughout Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Pacific Islands have outbreaks of Zika virus. Travelers to these areas should be aware of risks associated with travel to areas with Zika virus transmission and what precautions they should take.

While there has been no local transmission of Zika virus in California to date, the California Department of Public Health has confirmed 524 cases of travel-associated infections in the state. Some areas of Florida and Texas have experienced locally transmitted cases of Zika.

What travelers need to know before, during and after a trip to areas with Zika:

Before Your Trip

  • Find out if your destination has Zika by checking the CDC’s website for travel notices.
  • If you are pregnant, do not travel to areas with Zika.
  • If you or your partner are trying to get pregnant, consider avoiding nonessential travel to areas with Zika. Talk to your doctor about your travel plans.

During Your Trip

  • Apply sunscreen first and then insect repellent.  Do not apply repellent on skin under clothing.
  • Use an EPA-registered insect repellent on exposed skin and always follow the product label instructions.
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when possible.
  • Sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms. Use a bed net if sleeping outside.
  • Use condoms the right way every time you have sex.

After Your Trip

  • If you are not feeling well after your trip, see a doctor and mention that you traveled recently. Most people with Zika don’t know they have it because they don’t have symptoms. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.
  • If you have traveled to an area with Zika risk, take steps to prevent mosquito bites for three weeks after your trip. Even if you don't feel sick upon returning, take precautions so that you don't spread Zika to uninfected mosquitoes that can spread the virus to other people.
  • Be sure to use condoms for at least eight weeks (women) or six months (men) after travel to an area with Zika risk to protect your sex partners from transmission.
  • If you or your partner are pregnant, use condoms every time throughout the pregnancy.

Residents are encouraged to learn more about Zika.  Additional information about Zika in Mexico is also available at the Mexico Ministry of Health website.