San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
zika virus

Zika virus: US issues travel warning for pregnant women

MIAMI – The United States warned pregnant women Friday to avoid travel to 14 countries and territories in the Caribbean and Latin America due to the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects.

“The virus is spreading fairly rapidly through the Americas,” said Lyle Petersen, director of the division of vector-borne infectious diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a conference call with reporters. “We thought it was very important to warn people as soon as possible.”

The level two travel alert applies to Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

“Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing,” the CDC said.

Zika virus can cause fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, with symptoms usually lasting under a week. But in pregnant women, the virus can spread to the fetus and cause brain shrinkage or death.

Along with a rise in Zika cases in Brazil, more than 3,500 cases of microcephaly have been documented in the country between October 2015 and January 2016. Four of those cases have recently been analyzed, showing that babies were infected with Zika virus while they were in the womb and that it reached their brains. Two of the cases involved miscarriages, and two of the babies died soon after birth.

“All four mothers reported having experienced a fever and rash illness consistent with Zika virus disease during their pregnancies,” the CDC said. “Genetic sequence analysis showed that the virus in the four cases was the same as the Zika virus strain currently circulating in Brazil.”

Countries that have past or current evidence of Zika virus transmission as of January 2016.

(Courtesy CDC)

Special precautions for pregnant women

Experts say they don’t know just how much of an increase Brazil is experiencing in microcephaly, but that there is a rising number of cases.

The virus appears to destroy brain tissue that had already formed, resulting in smaller brain sizes and birth defects.

“Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant.”

Those who are trying to become pregnant “should consult with their health care provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow” steps to prevent mosquito bites, including wearing long sleeves and pants and applying insect repellant.

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika and no medicine available to treat it.

There have been 26 travel-related cases of Zika virus in the United States since 2007, but no locally acquired cases so far, Petersen said. He added that the situation is changing rapidly and urged women to “take these recommendations quite seriously.”

Log in to comment

Kevin Bond

Relax! – Zika virus is not a problem at all – What women and pregnant women need to know, is that Zika virus can be killed the moment it touches them – I got the power (and everybody can possess it) to destroy Zika and any other viruses and pathogens the moment they touch us, to make any destructive chemicals (sprayed in the environment and contained in the vaccines) harmless to all of us and to pregnant women, so microcephaly and any other birth defects will be absolutely impossible to affect the unborn babies, I know how to erase any diseases from the face of the planet in just a few days and we humans will become Immortal, for Infinite Health = Immortality – I offer my discovery to the world for 5 billion bucks – My WVCD – The Weapon of Virus and Cancer Destruction – Just an exercise for a minute a day – For kids and adults – For our Infinite Health – Even Tibetans and Yogis don’t know how to stay absolutely healthy all the time and to achieve Immortality.

0 0