If you are planning a pregnancy, currently pregnant, and traveling or your partner is traveling, this news is for you.
Summer is the top time for taking off on vacation. If you’re answering the call of beckoning beaches and far-off destinations, you may encounter risks that are different from those at home. One of these could be Zika.
The illness is transmitted primarily via infected mosquitoes, and other stinging insects. It can also be transmitted through the bite of an infected animal and through unprotected sex of all kinds, with an infected person.
Be aware that Zika is a tricky beast. Many who fall ill with it aren’t aware that they are, as there can be no symptoms. However, Zika can trigger paralysis and cause devastating birth defects known as encephalitis in the children of pregnant women.
Where can you travel? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a map that indicates where there are current Zika outbreaks.
(There are none at the moment but news of them can be delayed). It also indicates where there have been cases reported in the past, around the world.
Infected areas include southern regions of the United States, India, Africa, Mexico, Central and South America, and Asia.
If you are pregnant or planning on becoming so in the next few months, avoid traveling to areas with high Zika rates.
The virus can remain active in your system for a long time, and cause birth defects even if you get pregnant after your infected bite.
Experts advise that male partners who have traveled to areas with a Zika outbreak refrain from having unprotected sex with their pregnant female partner throughout the entire pregnancy.
Always talk with your healthcare provider before traveling to understand your risks.