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.”