Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have added the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic to the rapidly growing list of areas that are part of the Zika virus travel alert.
The level 2 travel alert cautions travelers to use enhanced precautions to prevent mosquito bites when traveling to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission. Though the Zika virus is generally mild, with symptoms lasting up to a week, there are more serious risks for pregnant women. Health officials are investigating the connection between microcephaly and other poor outcomes in the babies of pregnant women who were infected with Zika virus.
Until more is known, the CDC is advising pregnant women and those who are trying to become pregnant to postpone travel to these areas. If such travel is necessary, CDC recommends consulting a physician beforehand and strictly following steps to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, staying indoors, and using insect repellent.
The CDC’s Zika travel alert also includes Puerto Rico (a U.S. territory), Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Samoa, Suriname, and Venezuela.
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