The South Pacific island of Samoa is one of several countries the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added to their interim travel guidance related to Zika virus Friday.
The federal health agency initially issued travel guidance on Jan. 15, which included 14 countries and territories where local transmission was reported. In addition to Samoa, the updated guidance added Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana and Cape Verde.
In November 2015, Samoa reported the first local transmission of Zika virus infection (Zika). Local transmission means that mosquitoes in Samoa have been infected with Zika virus, spreading it to people.
According to a Jan. 2016 situation update from Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS), there have been 3 Zika virus cases identified (RT-PCR positive) from 40 samples sent to the ILM, French Polynesia.
The interim recommendations from the CDC include:
Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Knowledge of the link between Zika and these outcomes is evolving, but until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for the following groups:
- Women who are pregnant (in any trimester):
- Consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
- If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
- Women who are trying to become pregnant:
- Before you travel, talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection.
- Strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
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