Autochthonous, or local transmission of Zika virus is currently reported in 23 countries and territories in the Americas where many people from not only the US, but much of the world travel to for business and holiday and imported cases are being reported in the US and Europe at an increasing rapid pace.

United States map/CIA

During a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) telebriefing yesterday on Zika virus, Dr. Anne Schuchat said the following about Zika in the US:

“There are 31 travel-associated cases detected in 11 states and the District of Columbia, from the period of 2015 to the present. And for the U.S. territories, there are 20 laboratory-confirmed cases that we are aware of, 19 from Puerto Rico, and one from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

” I think for the pregnancy numbers, we’ll get back to you later, but that is based on what has come in.  I would say that, you know, the issue of us making this nationally notifiable and laboratory testing for the lab confirmation with the PCR is just increasing, so we really do expect there to be a lot more travel-associated cases.

” The key thing for people to know and remember is that most of these are very mild illnesses.  It’s really the circumstances of pregnant women who are traveling that we want to have heightened awareness of, and we really caution pregnant women to consider postponing travel.  We hope to know more and give more guidance in the future, but there’s the best recommendations right now.

“So, again, the issue for Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands is that that includes individuals who are laboratory confirmed.  They may be locally acquired or have traveled, but that’s been detected in two of the places.”