The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added eight countries/territories to its Zika virus travel alert: Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde and Samoa. 

Last week, the CDC issued a travel alert recommending that pregnant women consider postponing travel to destinations where there has been Zika virus transmission, including Puerto Rico, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela.

The alert followed reports out of Brazil of incomplete brain development (microcephaly) in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.

In its most recent update on Friday, the CDC noted that travelers to areas where cases of Zika virus infection have been recently confirmed may also be at risk of being infected with dengue or chikungunya viruses. “Mosquitoes that spread Zika, chikungunya and dengue are aggressive daytime biters, prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people. There is no vaccine or medicine available for Zika virus. The best way to avoid Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites,” the CDC reported.

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves eventually paralyzing the entire body, has been reported in patients with probable Zika virus infection in French Polynesia and Brazil, the CDC reported. Stated the CDC, “Research efforts will also examine the link between Zika and GBS.”

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