Just days after Cuba reported their first autochthonous Zika virus infection in a Havana woman, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a notice for travelers to the Caribbean island.
Because Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, CDC recommends that travelers to Cuba protect themselves from mosquito bites.
In addition, CDC recommends that pregnant women not travel to Cuba. Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and infection is linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes.
Sexual transmission of Zika virus from a male partner is also possible, so travelers are also encouraged to use condoms or not have sex.
Most 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. Zika may also be linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis for a few weeks to several months. Most people fully recover from GBS, but some have permanent damage.