Agencies Publish Interim Guidance for Protecting Workers from Exposure to Zika Virus
In guidance released in late April, CDC and OSHA describe ways to protect workers from occupational exposure to Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease that has been reported in several countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific. Although the disease is commonly spread from the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, transmission may also result from exposure to an infected person’s blood or other bodily fluids.
Women who are pregnant can pass the virus on to the fetus, causing microcephaly, a birth defect that results in incomplete brain development and a smaller than normal head. Many individuals infected with Zika will only have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all; common symptoms of Zika infection include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes, and generally last several days to a week.
The interim guidance applies to outdoor workers, healthcare and laboratory workers, mosquito control workers, and business travelers. The guidance suggests that employers consider reassigning workers who are pregnant or who have pregnant partners to indoor tasks to reduce their risk for mosquito bites. The new information from CDC and OSHA also includes guidance and recommendations for workers to protect themselves from mosquito bites and exposures from infected individuals. Employers and workers in travel-related operations, including airlines and cruise lines, may also benefit from CDC’s guidance for travel to Zika-affected areas.

The agencies’ interim guidance is available for download as a PDF from CDC’s website. CDC will continue to update this guidance as new information regarding Zika virus transmission and related health effects becomes available. For the latest information, CDC encourages individuals to visit its Web page on the Zika virus.