Because of local Zika virus transmission reported on the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda (1 case) and Turks and Caicos (2), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued “Level-2” travel notices advising travelers of the risk.
According to the CDC, travelers should follow enhanced precautions. Increased risk in defined settings or associated with specific risk factors; certain high-risk populations may wish to delay travel to these destinations.
Travelers to areas with cases of Zika virus infection are at risk of being infected with the Zika virus. Mosquitoes that spread Zika are aggressive daytime biters. They also bite at night. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika virus. The best way to avoid Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites.
Some travelers to areas with Zika will become infected while traveling but will not become sick until they return home and they might not have any symptoms. To help stop the spread of Zika, travelers should use insect repellent for three weeks after travel to prevent mosquito bites.
Some people who are infected do not have any symptoms. People who do have symptoms have reported fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. The sickness is usually mild with symptoms that last from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and the number of deaths is low. Travelers to areas with Zika should monitor for symptoms or sickness upon return. If they become sick, they should tell their healthcare professional when and where they have traveled.
CDC has received reports of Zika virus being spread by sexual contact with sick returning travelers. Until more is known, CDC continues to recommend that pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant take the following precautions.
- Should not travel to any area with Zika.
- If you must travel to or live in one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.
- If you or your partner live in or travel to an area with Zika, use condoms or other barriers, the right way, every time you have sex or do not have sex throughout the pregnancy. Sex includes vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
Women trying to get pregnant
- Before you or your partner travel, talk to your healthcare provider about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection.
- You and your partner should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.