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. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have issued new guidance for protecting workers from occupational exposure to Zika virus.
The guidance also provides tips for healthcare and laboratory workers, and outdoor workers. The guidance may be updated as additional information becomes available. Affected employers are advised to read the guidance in its entirety.
Protecting Healthcare and Laboratory Workers
Employers and workers in healthcare settings and laboratories should follow good infection control and biosafety practices (including universal precautions) as appropriate, to prevent or minimize the risk of transmission of infectious agents (e.g., Zika virus). Always follow universal precautions for potential BBP exposures, as described in OSHA’s BBP standard.
In healthcare, standard precautions can be used to expand the universal precautions required by the BBP standard by adding several protections (including expanded PPE) not covered by the BBP standard. Standard precautions include, but are not limited to, hand hygiene and the use of PPE to avoid direct contact with blood and other potentially\infectious materials, including laboratory specimens/samples. PPE may include gloves, gowns, masks and eye protection.
Download Interim Guidance for Protecting Workers from Occupational Exposure to Zika Virus