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ZIKA VIRUS: Key Facts Travellers Need To Know

Signs and Symptoms of the Zika Virus.

For those who fall ill, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says symptoms are usually mild and normally last two to seven days. Symptoms are similar to dengue and chikungunya and  include the following:


Pregnant women and infants.

The urgency of this outbreak is not entirely from the severity of symptoms, but from the fact that Zika can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby and has been linked to birth defects, such as microcephaly ­­ smaller­than­normal head size and incomplete brain development in infants.

Women who are pregnant: consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

Women who are trying to become pregnant: before you travel, talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection. It is strongly recommended that you follow the steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.


Tips to Prevent Zika.

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. Therefore, the CDC advises travelers to protect themselves from mosquito bites by taking the following precautions.

Avoid traveling to locations that are currently experiencing an outbreak

Use EPA­ registered insect repellents as directed

(Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label. Most repellent, including DEET, can be used on children ages >2 months.)

Stay and sleep in screened ­in or air­conditioned rooms

Wearing long­ sleeved shirts and long pants

Use permethrin­treated clothing and gear

Such as boots, pants, socks and tents. (Clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear can be treated with a pesticide called permethrin to kill or repel insects such as mosquitoes and ticks.) You can buy pre­treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.

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