Wed | Nov 21, 2018

US adds more Caribbean countries to Zika travel advisory

Published:Monday | January 25, 2016 | 12:00 AM
A health agent from Sao Paulo's Public health secretary shows an army soldier an Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae that she found during clean up operation against the insect, which is a vector for transmitting the Zika virus, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, recently.
An army soldier and a health agent from Sao Paulo's Public health secretary check a residence during an operation against the Aedes aegypti mosquito, Sao Paulo, Brazil, recently.

The United States health-care agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has added more Caribbean countries to the list of places to be avoided by Americans because of the outbreak of the zika virus.

On the weekend, the CDC added Barbados, Guadeloupe, St Martin and Guyana to its zika virus travel alert. Other countries also added are Bolivia, Ecuador, Cape Verde and Samoa.

On January 15, the CDC issued a travel alert for people travelling to regions and certain countries where the mosquito-borne zika virus is being transmitted.

They were: Puerto Rico, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela.

The CDC said specific areas where zika virus transmission is ongoing are "often difficult to determine and are likely to continue to change over time".

It, however, said it is working with other public health officials to monitor for ongoing zika virus transmission.

"As more information becomes available, CDC travel alerts will be updated," the CDC said. "Travellers to areas where cases of zika virus infection have been recently confirmed are at risk of being infected with the zika virus.

"Travellers to these areas may also be at risk of being infected with dengue or chikungunya viruses," it added, stating that mosquitoes that spread zika, chikungunya and dengue are "aggressive daytime biters, prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people".

The CDC said there is no vaccine or medicine available for the zika virus, pointing out that the best way to avoid zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites.

The health agency said some travellers to areas with ongoing zika virus transmission will become infected while travelling, but will not become sick until they return home. Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, the CDC said it continues to recommend that pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant take precautions.