The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) late Friday issued a Level 2 travel alert
for countries and territories where Zika virus has been found, including
Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras,
Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.
A Level 2 alert is
intended to urge travelers to take enhanced precautions. This
particular alert follows reports coming out of Brazil of incomplete brain
development (microcephaly) and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of
mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant, according to the CDC.
“However, additional studies are needed to further characterize this
relationship. More studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika
virus infection during pregnancy,” the agency stated.
Until more is known,
the CDC recommends that pregnant women at any stage of their pregnancy consider
postponing travel to areas where there has been Zika virus transmission.
Pregnant women who
must travel to one of these areas, women trying to become pregnant, and women
who are thinking about becoming pregnant should consult with their healthcare
provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent
mosquito bites during the trip, the CDC advised.
Currently, there is
no vaccine to prevent Zika and there is no known medicine to treat it. Four in
five people who acquire Zika may have no symptoms. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (pink eye). The illness
is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week, with
hospitalization being uncommon.
was reported for the first time in Brazil in May 2015. According to Brazilian
health authorities, more than 3,500 microcephaly cases were reported in Brazil
between October 2015 and January 2016. Some of the affected infants have had a
severe type of microcephaly and some died.