CDC issues zika virus travel advisory for Belize

On Monday, the US Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) issued a zika virus travel notice for Belize. CDC has issued a number of previous travel notices (level 2, “practice enhanced precautions”) for people traveling to destinations with zika. Travelers to areas with cases of zika virus infection are at risk of being infected with the zika virus. Mosquitoes that spread zika are aggressive daytime biters. They also bite at night. There is no vaccine or medicine for zika virus. The best way to avoid zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites.

Some travelers to areas with zika will become infected while traveling but will not become sick until they return home and they might not have any symptoms. To help stop the spread of zika, travelers should use insect repellent for three weeks after travel to prevent mosquito bites.

Some people who are infected do not have any symptoms. People who do have symptoms have reported fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. The sickness is usually mild with symptoms that last from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and the number of deaths is low. Travelers to areas with zika should monitor for symptoms or sickness upon return. If they become sick, they should tell their healthcare professional when and where they have traveled.

CDC has received reports of zika virus being spread by sexual contact with sick returning travelers. Until more is known, CDC continues to recommend that pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant take the following precautions.

Pregnant women

• Should not travel to any area with zika.

• If you must travel to or live in one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.

• If you have a male partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with zika, either use condoms, the right way, every time you have sex or do not have sex during your pregnancy.

Women trying to get pregnant

• Before you or your male partner travel, talk to your healthcare provider about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of zika virus infection.

• You and your male partner should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is very likely triggered by zika in a small proportion of infections, much as it is after a variety of other infections. CDC is working with Brazil to study the possibility of a link between zika and GBS.

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