Travel Health Alert-Zika Virus
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health and travel advisory regarding Zika virus in the Americas.
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus, and to date has been identified in over 50 countries or territories in South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico. Zika virus infections have been reported in travelers returning to the United States. Spread of the virus through blood transfusion and sexual contact have also been reported.
The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. There have also been reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome among some people infected with the virus. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika.
Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
- Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.
In response, CDC has issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
For current information, visit the CDC Zika virus website at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/
For Pregnant Women and Women Trying to Become Pregnant
During the current outbreak, Zika virus infections have been confirmed in infants with birth defects and in fetal losses in women infected during pregnancy. Until more is known and out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant who do travel to these areas should talk to their doctors or other healthcare providers first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
The CDC has developed guidance for pregnant women who may be traveling to areas in the Americas where Zika virus is circulating, "Interim Guidelines for Pregnant Women During a Zika Virus Outbreak-United States, 2016" - https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6502e1.htm
Information for specific destinations are available from the CDC.