On January 15, 2016 the CDC issued a travel advisory cautioning woman who are pregnant (or planning to become pregnant) to avoid travel to 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean currently experiencing an outbreak of Zika virus. The threat of Zika is spreading so quickly, that only a week after it issued its first travel advisory, the CDC has already added an additional 8 countries to the list. These include Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde, and Samoa. Click here to see the 14 countries noted in the original travel advisory.
Some travelers to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission may become infected while traveling but will not become sick until they return home. According to the CDC, 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.
The danger is that infection with the virus is believed to be linked to serious birth defects. Now, researchers are also investigating a possible link with Zika virus infection and Guillain Barré Syndrome in French Polynesia and Brazil.
This means that anyone planning to travel to these countries should consult with a travel medicine specialist or health care provider to carefully determine health risks and discuss means of prevention.