The Ministry of Health and Social Development confirmed five cases of the Zika virus in the British Virgin Islands last week. Three of the cases were tested locally and found to be positive and two cases were tested overseas and found to be positive as well. The cases were contracted in the Cane Garden Bay and Havers areas of Tortola.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

The local Zika transmission, which means that mosquitoes in the area are infected with Zika virus and are spreading it to people, has prompted a travel notice issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday.

Because Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, CDC recommends that travelers to the British Virgin Islands protect themselves from mosquito bites.

In addition, sexual transmission of Zika virus is also possible, so travelers are encouraged to use condoms (or other barriers to prevent infection) or not have sex.

CDC also makes the following recommendations for pregnant women: You should not travel to the British Virgin Islands; If you must travel, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip and if you have a partner who lives in or has traveled to the British Virgin Islands, either use condoms (or other barriers to prevent infection) or do not have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) during your pregnancy.