The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C) has recently added 8 tropical destinations to the list of Zika virus expansion areas.
The list now consists of 22 countries and regions, adding Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, Guyana, Samoa, which are in the south of Pacific Ocean and Cape Verde – off the coast of Africa.
Among these countries and regions, St. Martin, Barbados and Guadeloupe are well-known as stunning tourist destinations. Hence, their travel and hospitality industry might be radically affected by Zika virus if the epidemic spread there. According to the official announcement from Health officials in the United States Virgin Islands, a woman at the age of 42, who has no history of recent travel, has been infected.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommended pregnant women to consult their doctors about whether to enter the Zika-infected areas or not. So far, only 20% of the infected people develop symptoms such as rashes, red eyes and fevers. Women who are in pregnancy time, if they are infected by Zika virus, are likely to be at high risk of giving birth to babies with microcephaly condition – a situation in which babies have tiny heads and deformed brains.
Also, the C.D.C recommended blood testing for pregnant women, who have had the symptoms during or shortly after the time in countries where Zika is widely spreading. Reutters revealed that El Salvador had advised women not to become pregnant until 2018.
Cape Verde and Samoa reported their first Zika infection case in October and November respectively. However, these countries were not at the earlier advisory of the C.D.C. The answer for this confusion has not been found yet.
The latest travel advisory is now at level 2, which means it only concerns as pregnant travellers, who have special risk factors. Nonetheless, in Brazil and French Polynesia, there existed a potential life-threatening paralysis called Guillain-Barré syndrome in women and also in men who were probably infected by Zika virus. According to the U.S National Institute of Health, Guillain-Barré, commonly, occurs a few days or weeks after getting involved in viral infection. This syndrome may lead to tingling or weakness in the legs, muscular weakness and progressive paralysis. The C.D.C is working on a research to determine the association between Zika and this condition.
Travellers visiting the countries and regions where Zika virus is spreading is advised to wear long pants and long-sleeves shirts.