When Americans are diagnosed, doctors have urged them to “quarantine” themselves in the house for eight days, so that they are not bitten by local mosquitoes, which can then spread the virus to others, according to Schaffner.
“The disease is spread widely in Haiti and the Dominican Republic because they have lots of mosquitoes and people come into contact with them," he said. “Now, people from the U.S. go to the Caribbean and may become exposed and come home while they are incubating and become ill here.”
Beyond wearing insect repellant, Schaffner advised removing standing water in bird baths and even house gutters, which can harbor mosquitoes.
“I think it’s difficult to establish itself in the United States,” he said of the virus, “because we’re more separate from the mosquitoes than in the Caribbean. We live in an air conditioning environment and sit on porches – but they are screened… There might be bursts of transmission, but it’s not very easy to establish in the United States.”