Friday, January 22, 2016

CDC Expands Zika Travel Advisory Country List

Credit PAHO - Epi Wk 2


Seven days ago the CDC issued a Level-II travel advisory for 14 countries and territories over the Zika Virus threat, and warned that list would likely grow. Two days ago, in PAHO: Zika Marches On, we looked at an updated list of affected countries from the Pan American Health Organization, which had increased to 20 nations and territories.

Today the CDC has released a statement adding Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde, and Samoa to the list. 

Given the speed with which this virus is spreading, it seems likely this list will continue to expand in the weeks ahead.

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Friday, January 22, 2016 Contact: Media Relations, (404) 639-3286

CDC is working with other public health officials to monitor for ongoing Zika virus‎ transmission. Today, CDC added the following destinations to the Zika virus travel alerts:  Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde, and Samoa.  On January 15, CDC issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory; Brazil; Colombia; El Salvador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Martinique; Mexico; Panama; Paraguay; Suriname; and Venezuela. 

Specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are often difficult to determine and are likely to continue to change over time.

As more information becomes available, CDC travel alerts will be updated. Travelers to areas where cases of Zika virus infection have been recently confirmed are at risk of being infected with the Zika virus. Travelers to these areas may also be at risk of being infected with dengue or chikungunya viruses. Mosquitoes that spread Zika, chikungunya, and dengue 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. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Other commonly reported symptoms include muscle pain, headache, and pain behind the eyes. 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, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC continues to recommend that pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant take the following precautions:
  • Pregnant women in any trimester 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.
  • 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
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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