The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week recommended health care personnel use “standard precautions” at all times in every health care setting to prevent potential transmission of the Zika virus, regardless of whether infection is suspected or confirmed. “Because of the potential for exposure to large volumes of body fluids during the labor and delivery process and the sometimes unpredictable and fast-paced nature of obstetrical care, the use of Standard Precautions in these settings is essential,” the agency said. Standard precautions include hand hygiene, use of personal protective equipment, respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, safe injection practices, and safe handling of potentially contaminated equipment or surfaces in the patient environment. CDC said health care personnel “should assess their risk for exposure and select PPE appropriate for the situation,” and that all personnel on a team involved in the same procedures should use the same level of PPE. CDC urges ongoing education and training, noting that all personnel should be trained in the correct use and disposal of PPE and be able to don PPE quickly in urgent situations and remove it safely. Recent evidence suggests a possible association between maternal Zika virus infection and adverse fetal outcomes. Until more is known, CDC strongly advises pregnant women to consider postponing travel to Zika-affected areas. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/zika and www.aha.org/zika.

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