Long Island, NY - January 29, 2016 - CDC has issued a travel alert for people traveling to regions and countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, Venezuela, Cape Verde, Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Dominican Republic.
The alert follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly (small head size) and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.
Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant:
- 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 provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
- Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.
Prevention: If women must travel to one of these areas, they should talk to their healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites both day and night: use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens. When used as directed on the product label, insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, and IR3535 are safe for pregnant women. Further guidelines for using insect repellents are available online.
Transmission: Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. While there are no cases of Zika transmission in the mainland United States to date, CDC continues to work with states to monitor for mosquito-borne diseases, including Zika. CDC is receiving samples for Zika virus testing from returning U.S. travelers who became ill in 2015 or 2016.
Treatment: Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika.
Symptoms: The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms typically begin 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. About one in five people infected with Zika will get sick. For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon, and fatalities are rare. Mild symptoms can be treated with plenty of rest, fluids and medicines such as acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain.
If, however, you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes within two weeks after traveling to a country where Zika virus cases have been reported, consult your healthcare provider promptly.
Healthcare Providers: please call 631-854-0333 during business hours for authorization for testing. After hours, call 631-852-4820. Also, visit http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr for CDC’s Interim Guidelines.
Because specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are difficult to determine and likely to change over time, CDC will update this travel guidance as more information becomes available. Check the CDC travel website frequently for the most up to date recommendations.