Protection key as mosquito season approaches Published March 25, 2016 By Holly Logan-Arrington Robins Public Affairs ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Although the buzz on the Zika virus has died down a bit, the 78th Medical Group's Public Health Flight is advising people to continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites as mosquito season approaches. The Zika virus is a disease that's transmitted by the Aedes species of mosquito which is native to Georgia, the same species of mosquito that transmits dengue fever and chikungunya. As of March 10, there have been no cases of Zika virus transmission in the U.S. by mosquito bites; however, there have been numerous travel-related and sexually transmitted cases. The Georgia Department of Public Health is warning that individuals who have travelled to one of the affected countries and has symptoms or concerns about being infected, to practice abstinence or safe sex for an indeterminate amount of time. A list of countries is available at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html. "It's not known how long the virus is present in bodily fluids," said Staff Sgt. Brittany Guynn, Public Health Flight noncommissioned officer in charge of communicable disease. "Females wanting to become pregnant who have traveled to any of the affected countries and have symptoms should wait at least one week after symptoms end before trying to get pregnant." There are no indications at this time that a previous infection will affect future pregnancies, Guynn said. Public Health is responsible for the trapping and testing mosquitos on Robins. This is done in conjunction with base entomology. "Trapping and testing begins when weather conditions support," Guynn said. "Although there have been no local mosquito-borne transmissions, because the mosquito species that carry Zika virus reside and breed in Georgia, individuals should take all necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites." People can protect against mosquito bites by using DEET spray on exposed skin, permethrin on clothing, avoiding high bite time frames such as dawn and dusk, ensuring proper screens are applied to housing and reducing any debris around the house that can hold water. Additionally, before traveling outside the U.S., you should call Robins' Public Health for a travel medicine appointment. "There's still a lot unknown about the Zika virus," Guynn said. What to know: For regular updates, call Public Health at 478-327-8019, or visit www.cdc.gov.