An official with the Wyoming Department of Health is warning state residents who travel about the threat posed by the Zika virus.

Clay Van Houten, who is the department's interim state epidemiologist, says five Wyoming residents over the past year or so are known to have contracted the virus, which is mostly spread by the bites of certain types of mosquitoes.

But once someone is infected it can also be spread through sex.

Zika is a mild infection for most people. But it can be a major concern for pregnant women because it has strong links to a  brain-related birth defect known as microcephaly.

The federal Centers For Disease Control and Prevention offer the following guidelines:

·         Pregnant women should not travel to Zika-affected locations.  If they do, they should strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites.

·         Sexual partners of pregnant women who live in or who have traveled to an affected area should use condoms during sex or abstain from sex during the pregnancy.

·         Women who traveled to an affected area should wait at least 8 weeks before trying for a pregnancy; men should wait at least 6 months.
Van Houten says women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should check to see if their travel destination is affected by the virus.
While the virus is mostly found in foreign countries, there are a few places in the United States where it has been found as well.

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