|Credit - http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html|
The list of countries where the Zika virus is currently reported to be transmitting increases every couple of days, and seems likely to do so for some time. For the second time this week the CDC has added new destinations to their Zika Travel Alert:
This brings to 27 the number of countries and territories in the Americas that have been affected - up from only two (Brazil & Columbia) in October - and 30 worldwide.
New in this update are guidelines to help prevent the sexual transmission of the virus to women who are pregnant or trying to be, an addition sparked by the second confirmed case of sexual transmission earlier this week:
Until we know more, if your male sexual partner has traveled to or lives in an area with active Zika virus transmission, you should abstain from sex or use condoms the right way every time you have vaginal, anal, and oral sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
While likely a minor route of infection, other public health agencies have issued similar advice in recent days (see UK PHE Warns On Potential Sexual Transmission Of Zika).
As many countries are not yet testing for the virus, or are awaiting test results, this list of affected countries and territories should not be considered definitive.
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: Jamaica and Tonga. CDC has issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. For a full list of affected countries/regions: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html. Specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are often difficult to determine and are likely to continue to change over time.
Media StatementFor Immediate Release: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 Contact: Media Relations, (404) 639-3286
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. Mosquitoes that spread Zika 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. Some people who are infected do not have any symptoms. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Other commonly reported symptoms include muscle pain and headache. 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, CDC continues to recommend that pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant take the following precautions:
Pregnant women 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. Until we know more, if your male sexual partner has traveled to or lives in an area with active Zika virus transmission, you should abstain from sex or use condoms the right way every time you have vaginal, anal, and oral sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
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.