Local transmission of Zika virus in four countries has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issue advisories for travelers to Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives and Solomon Islands.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area have been infected with Zika virus, spreading it to people.

CDC reminds travelers the best way to avoid Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes that spread Zika bite during the day and night. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Sexual transmission of Zika virus is also possible, so you should use condoms or not have sex during your trip.

Some people who are infected do not have any symptoms. People who do have symptoms have reported fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. The sickness is usually mild with symptoms that last from several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.

Some travelers to areas with Zika will become infected while traveling, but will not become sick until they return home, or they might not have any symptoms. To help stop the spread of Zika, travelers should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for three weeks after travel to areas with Zika.

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 from start to finish every time you have sex or do not have sex during 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.
  • If you do travel to an area with Zika, you and your partner should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.


LISTEN: Travel medicine: An interview with Dr. Christopher Sanford