The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering issuing a travel warning about Zika virus due to it rapidly spreading across Latin America and the Caribbean.

The travel warning would be especially important for pregnant women – the once obscure Zika virus is believed to cause catastrophic birth defects.

There’s a growing concern among researchers that the virus could be causing babies in Brazil to be born with brain damage. Specifically, tests found Zika in fetal and newborn tissue of Brazilian babies affected with microcephaly.

Microcephaly is a neurological disorder that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads, typically causing severe developmental issues and even death. It can also cause miscarriages.

Brazil has seen cases of microcephaly skyrocket from about 200 a year to more than 3,000 in 2015. Brazil isn’t the only country seeing an uptick in the spread of Zika virus – it’s also been showing up throughout South America, Central America, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

The Zika virus, which is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, can cause a Zika fever – symptoms usually consist of a mild fever, headaches, a rash, conjunctivitis, and muscle pain beginning two to seven days after the bite of an infected mosquito. However, only one in four Zika-infected people develop symptoms of the viral disease.

There isn’t a treatment yet for a Zika infection – there’s no vaccine or drug to combat it. Someone with the infection can only treat the symptoms, such as relieving pain, fever and other uncomfortable symptoms. It’s also recommended to rest, drink plenty of water and control the fever to prevent dehydration.

The best way to prevent Zika infection is to either avoid traveling where the virus is rapidly spreading or to protect against mosquito bites.

Prevent mosquito bites by:

  • Using insect and mosquito repellents
  • Covering exposed skin with long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats
  • Sleeping under mosquito nets

zika-world-map

Photos from the CDC and Vectorbase.org.

Share

About The Author

Nicole Jenet is a writer at Scribewise. There's nothing she loves more than the feeling of warm sand beneath her feet and trying new, exotic cuisine. Visit www.scribewise.com.

Subscribe for Updates and News!

Join our email list to receive the latest in healthy travel news, trends and issues.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Close