September 18, 2018

US adds more Caribbean countries to Zika travel advisory by STAFF WRITER


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From Antigua Observer

ATLANTA, Jan. 24, CMC – The United States healthcare agency, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (), has added more Caribbean countries to the list of places to be avoided by Americans because of the outbreak of the Zika virus.

On Friday, the CDC added Barbados, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and Guyana to its Zika virus travel alert. Other countries also added are Bolivia, Ecuador, Cape Verde and Samoa.

On January 15, the CDC issued a travel alert for people traveling to regions and certain countries where the mosquito borne Zika virus is being transmitted.

They were: Puerto Rico, , Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela.

The CDC said specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are “often difficult to determine and are likely to continue to change over time.”

It, however, said it is working with other public officials to monitor for ongoing Zika virus‎ transmission.

“As more information becomes available, CDC travel alerts will be updated,” the CDC said. “Travelers to areas where cases of Zika virus infection have been recently confirmed are at risk of being infected with the Zika virus.

“Travelers to these areas may also be at risk of being infected with dengue or chikungunya viruses,” it added, stating that mosquitoes that spread Zika, chikungunya and dengue are “aggressive daytime biters, prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people.”

The CDC said there is no vaccine or medicine available for Zika virus, pointing out that the best way to avoid Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites.

The health agency said some travelers to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission will become infected while traveling, but will not become sick until they return home.

Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, the CDC said it continues to recommend that pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant take precautions.

It said pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

The CDC also said that pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare professional first, and “strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.”

Additionally, the CDC said Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been reported in patients with probable Zika virus infection in French Polynesia and Brazil.

“Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in which the body usually is responding to another infection. It has an immune response that destroys the covering of nerves and interferes with the ability of nerves to function and survive,” said Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an infectious diseases specialist at North Shore University Hospital, in Manhasset, New York.

Guillain-Barré causes an “ascending motor paralysis” that starts at the feet and moves up towards the head.

The CDC says research efforts will also examine the link between Zika and GBS.

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