Travelers advised over Zika virus

4 Feb 16

UNITED STATES

The Centers for Disease Control has updated its travel advisories regarding the Zika virus in light of recent outbreaks in the Americas.

The alerts recommend that travelers take enhanced precautions when traveling to numerous countries in South America, Central America, the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands, and Cape Verde. The list of countries where the virus has been reported can be found in the CDC notices.

On Monday, the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus an international public health emergency, but did not recommend travel restrictions.

The Zika virus is transmitted to humans through infected mosquitos, and a recent Texas case confirmed that it can spread through sexual contact. The virus can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn child, and health authorities are investigating a connection between the virus and microcephaly in newborns, a condition that stunts brain development.

At this time, there is no vaccine or cure for Zika. The CDC recommends that all travelers to regions where Zika has been reported protect themselves against mosquito bites, and encourages pregnant women to consider postponing travel to any area where the Zika virus is ongoing. Pregnant women who must travel and women trying to become pregnant should consult their doctor before travel and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.

BAL Analysis: At this time, the CDC has not raised its travel alerts to its highest level (avoid nonessential travel), but recommends that travelers take enhanced precautions when traveling to regions that have reported the virus. The CDC has posted additional information on its website.

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