The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added Jamaica and Tonga to the list of travel alerts due to ongoing Zika virus transmission Wednesday.
Travelers to areas where cases of Zika virus infection have been recently confirmed are at risk of being infected with the Zika virus. Mosquitoes that spread Zika are aggressive daytime biters, prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people. There is no vaccine or medicine available for Zika virus. The best way to avoid Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites.
Some travelers to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission will become infected while traveling but will not become sick until they return home. Some people who are infected do not have any symptoms. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Other commonly reported symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and case fatality is low. Travelers to these areas should monitor for symptoms or illness upon return. If they become ill, they should tell their healthcare professional where they have traveled and when.
Until more is known, CDC continues to recommend that pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant take the following precautions:
- Pregnant women should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare professional first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. Until we know more, if your male sexual partner has traveled to or lives in an area with active Zika virus transmission, you should abstain from sex or use condoms the right way every time you have vaginal, anal, and oral sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
- Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare professional before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.
CDC will issue guidance in the coming days on prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus, with a focus on the male sexual partners of women who are or who may be pregnant.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been reported in patients with probable Zika virus infection in French Polynesia and Brazil. Research efforts will also examine the link between Zika and GBS.
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