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What you need to know about the Zika virus

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging pregnant women - at any stage of pregnancy - to consider postponing travel to several destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean where a virus linked to birth defects is reportedly being transmitted through mosquito bites.

About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick.  For most people, the illness is usually mild, lasting from several days to a week.  For this reason, many people may not realize they have been infected. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (pink-eye). 

Contact your health care provider if you are pregnant, and have recently traveled to an affected area.  The CDC also advises women who are contemplating or trying to get pregnant to talk to their doctor before traveling to those areas and to take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

You can find a complete list of countries affected by this travel warning at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/notices.  Please check this list frequently as new countries are being added all the time.

You can learn more about this virus and steps you can take to prevent it at http://www.cdc.gov/zika

Camelot World Travel recommends the following preventative measures for all passengers planning to travel to affected areas:

  1. Carry and use insect repellent that contains DEET.
  2. If you are using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying the insect repellent.
  3. Do not use insect repellent on children under 2 years of age.
  4. Wear long sleeved shirts and pants.
  5. Treat clothing and gear with permethrin. Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. Do NOT use permethrin directly on skin.
  6. Sleep with the air conditioning on, rather than with open windows.
  7. Sleep under a mosquito net if you are sleeping outside.

Many vendors have relaxed their change and cancellation penalties for travelers at risk for the Zika virus.  Please consult your travel agent for details.