Zika Virus: Interim Guidance for Workers


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are monitoring the Zika virus outbreak spreading through Central and South America, Mexico, and parts of the Caribbean, including U.S. territories.

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can become infected when they bite infected persons and can then spread the Zika virus to other persons they subsequently bite.

Zika virus historically has been found in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. The first case was identified in the Zika Forest in Uganda in 1947. In 2015, cases of Zika virus infection emerged in the Americas and the Caribbean.

Zika virus has the potential to spread anywhere that mosquitoes capable of spreading the Zika virus are found. Aedes species mosquitoes are a principal vector (i.e., carrier) of Zika virus in the U.S. Aedes aegypti (commonly known as yellow fever mosquitoes) are typically concentrated in the southern U.S. as well as parts of the Southwest. Another vector for Zika virus is Aedes albopictus (commonly known as Asian Tiger mosquitoes), which are found in much of the southern and eastern part of the U.S. Aedes mosquitoes can also carry other arboviruses, including dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile. CDC provides information about surveillance of Aedes mosquitoes in the U.S.

This interim guidance provides employers and workers with information and guidance on preventing occupational exposure to the Zika virus. The guidance may be updated as additional information becomes available.

For the most up-to-date information, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Zika website frequently.

Some U.S. states have mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread Zika virus, and travel-associated Zika virus infections in U.S. states may result in local spread of the virus. Visit the CDC Areas with Zika website to learn where there is current transmission.

Workers who are exposed on the job to mosquitoes or the blood or other body fluids of infected individuals may be at risk for occupationally acquired Zika virus infection.