Gov. Dannel Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino held a joint news conference to announce new outreach efforts concerning the Zika virus.
The news conference was part of a plan to ensure travelers have all the latest information they need concerning the virus.
Malloy said the goal is to make sure travelers have all the information they need about Zika as they prepare to leave Connecticut to get to and from San Juan, Puerto Rico on JetBlue's two daily flights. He said he also wanted to make sure passengers who may be connecting through other airports on their way to the Caribbean or Central and South American are also aware of the latest on the virus.
“We continue to remain vigilant," Malloy said. "That’s why our agencies are working so closely together on this critical issue. We want everyone to enjoy their summer travels and have fun vacations, but we also want to make sure travelers remain educated on Zika and do what they can to avoid harm."
Starting Friday, posters in both English and Spanish will be placed on jet bridges for flights to San Juan. Malloy said the posters will warn travelers of the risk of mosquito-born diseases like Zika and advise means of protection. It would also give information symptoms to watch and treatment options.
"That's good because I didn't think about that myself," said Amber Murphy of East Hartford. "So I'm glad that they're letting people know about it."
The posters will also be at baggage carousels with advise for returning travelers.
Fold-out pamphlets will also be available to people boarding flights to San Juan. To see it, click here.
Informational videos featuring Pino and Wyman will also be played at TSA screening areas.
"It is critically important that pregnant women, women who plan to become pregnant and their male partners consider the risks of Zika virus infection and take all necessary steps to avoid mosquito bites while in an affected area," Pino said. "A week of fun in the sun is not worth the risk of having a baby born with serious birth defects that require a lifetime of care and costs."
Doctors said Zika is contracted through mosquitoes and is especially dangerous for pregnant women, as it can cause birth defects.
At least 14 people in Connecticut have tested positive for Zika, according to health officials. All of them contracted the virus while visiting other countries.
The state Department of Public Health and the governor are urging travelers to avoid areas affected by Zika.
They said if travelers do need to go where the virus has been detected, they should use bug spray, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and avoid areas with standing water.
A vaccine isn't expected to be available for another two years.
The focus of the outreach announcement from Malloy and the health department took place 10:30 a.m. at Bradley airport.
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