Urgent Zika Virus Alert for Pregnant Travelers

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The following urgent Zika virus alert was issued by the CDC over the weekend for women traveling to Central and South America.

Pregnant women should consider postponing travel to 14 countries and territories from Brazil to Mexico where mosquitos are spreading the Zika virus, which is associated with microcephaly in infants.

An urgent CDC warning

This  travel alert was issued by the CDC on  January 15. Lyle Peterson, MD, who directs the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, announced the warning on Friday evening to reporters, saying that it couldn’t wait until Monday.

“We believe this is a fairly serious problem,” Petersen said. “Because there’s growing evidence of a link between Zika and microcephaly, we thought it was important to warn people as soon as possible.”

How dangerous is the Zika virus?

The virus is considered so dangerous  women who are even thinking about getting pregnant are advised to consult with their doctor, postpone travel, or protect themselves against mosquitos with repellent and long sleeves and pants.

Babies who contract the Zika virus are born with smaller heads than normal, and their brains may not develop properly. This can cause seizures, developmental delays, motor disabilities, hearing loss, and life-threatening complications.

There is no vaccine or medicine for the Zika virus yet.

Should I worry about the Zika virus if I’m not pregnant?

Adults who contract the  virus have much milder symptoms that last less than a week, including fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis.

Where is the virus a threat?

The following countries and territories are included in the travel alert:

  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela
  • Puerto Rico

Mosquito-borne viruses are a serious problem in large parts of the world. Besides Zika, mosquitos carry malaria, dengue fever, and other life-threatening illnesses. Learn some tricks to protect yourself from mosquitos when you travel at this link.

Source: CDC Issues Zika Travel Alert

Lauren Haas is a nomadic freelance writer. She has been traveling the world, living out of a backpack, since May of 2013. She loves to travel on a budget, learning about different cultures and cuisines.

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