CDC Considers Travel Warnings Over Zika Virus: 14 Countries And Territories Pregnant Women Especially Should Avoid

CDC considers travels warnings over Zika virus. GMA (Screenshot(

Zika, an untreatable mosquito-borne virus linked to serious birth defects, has been historically confined to Africa and Asia. However, it recently made its way across Central and South American borders. After tests revealed evidence of Zika in fetal and newborn tissue taken from infants in Brazil with microcephaly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now mulling over new guidelines for pregnant women traveling to the 14 countries and territories

"We're trying to get out some comprehensive travel guidelines that women can follow, with more specific information for pregnant women," said Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of the Vector-Born Disease Division of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the CDC. "We expect to have them out in a day or so."

Back in November, Brazilian authorities linked Zika to an upward trend in babies being born with microcephaly, a severe birth defect that hinders a child’s mental and physical development. A month later in December, Puerto Rico reported its first case of Zika. Shortly thereafter, health officials started to express concerns over Zika’s next stop being in the United States. Officials fear we could see a serious rise in Zika cases come April, which is known as peak mosquito season.

"We now have an accumulating number of cases in babies from miscarriage or who were born with microcephaly with evidence of Zika," Petersen added. "That suggests a stronger and stronger relationship of Zika and microcephaly."

According to the CDC, the illness caused by the Zika virus tends to be mild with symptoms lasting from a few days to a week. These symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. Although no deaths have been reported and severe disease is uncommon, it can spell trouble for pregnant women and their newborns via microcephaly. In fact, Brazilian couples were urged to hold off on pregnancy until the government had the Zika situation under control. 

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