Tips About Zika Outbreak While Travelling

What calls for special attention is that Zika virus has spread to more than 20 countries in the Americas. And the unprecedented and explosive outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease is causing fear in the affected regions.

When the effects are generally mild, the greatest concern is about a strongly suspected link with brain defects in babies.

There have been no travel bans, however what advice is there for people visiting the regions?

Tips About Zika Outbreak While Travelling

Which countries are affected?

The Pan American Health Organization is publishing updates on the affected countries.

But the virus is expected to spread throughout North, Central and South America, except Canada and Chile, and people should check for the latest advice before travelling.

Tips About Zika Outbreak While Travelling

Should I go?

Only pregnant women have been advised to reconsider their plans to visit countries affected by Zika.

It is thought that within the female body the virus can travel across the placenta and affect the health of an unborn baby.

There has been a surge in microcephaly – in which the baby’s brain does not develop properly – in Brazil.

The UK‘s National Travel Health Network and Centre says pregnant women should reconsider their travel plans, and that any traveller should seek advice from a health professional before departing.

And it adds that pregnant women who have to travel should take “scrupulous” measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

The US Centers for Disease Control says women trying to get pregnant should “talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection [and] strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.”

Tips About Zika Outbreak While Travelling

Is it safe to get pregnant after visiting?

The CDC says Zika lingers in the blood for about a week.

And: “The virus will not cause infections in a baby that is conceived after the virus is cleared from the blood.

“There is currently no evidence that Zika virus infection poses a risk of birth defects in future pregnancies.”

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