LANSING (WWJ) – If you’re traveling to warmer climates this winter, Michigan health officials wants to remind you to protect yourself from the Zika virus.

There have been 69 confirmed cases of Zika in Michigan residents — all travel related, says WWJ Health Reporter Dr. Deanna Lites.

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Health experts say the virus, which is which is primarily spread through a mosquito bite, has been linked to serious birth defects.

“If a woman is pregnant she should not be traveling to any area affected by the Zika virus, said Dr. Eden Wells, with the Michigan Health Department.

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If you’re of reproductive age, you’ll want to take precautions from mosquito bites, Wells said. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and use an EP- approved insect repellent.

If a woman returns back from a Zika-affected area she would wait eight weeks before pregnant. And if a male who is traveling, he comes back from a Zika-affected area,” she added, “he should probably be using protection to prevent pregnancy for at least six months.”

The most common symptoms of the Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes) lasting for several days to a week after being bitten.

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For more information on the Zika virus and traveling, call the Detroit Medical Center’s hotline for travelers at 1-888-DMC-3370 or go to the CDC’s travel website at www.cdc.gov/travel.