Bahamas: CDC issues travel notice due to local Zika transmission

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A little over a week after the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported on the first locally transmitted Zika virus infection in the Bahamas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel notice for those going to the archipelago.

Aedes aegypti Image/CDC
Aedes aegypti
Image/CDC

Local mosquito transmission of Zika virus infection has been reported on the island of New Providence in The Bahamas (which includes the city of Nassau). Local mosquito transmission means that mosquitoes in the area are infected with Zika virus and are spreading it to people.

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.

Many people infected with Zika virus do not get sick. Among those who do develop symptoms, sickness is usually mild, with symptoms that last for several days to a week. People who do have symptoms have reported fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and the number of deaths is low.

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare disorder that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis for a few weeks to several months.

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.

Pregnant women

  • 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.

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