This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an unprecedented
travel warning advising pregnant women, their partners and anyone trying to conceive to avoid travel to the northern Miami suburbs where Zika has been found circulating.
“With the new information that there are active mosquitoes still in the area and additional Zika infections, we conclude that pregnant women should avoid this area – and make every effort to prevent mosquito bites if they live or work there,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.
This is the first time the CDC has warned people not to travel to an American neighborhood for fear of contracting an infectious disease, and the CDC, along with Florida and Miami public health officials, are working hard to investigate the Zika outbreak and reduce the risk of future infections. As for now, the CDC continues to implore everyone, especially pregnant and soon-to-be pregnant women, in areas with Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
The CDC also recommends:
-Pregnant women not to travel to the area.
-Pregnant women who traveled to this area on or after June 15, 2016 should talk with their
healthcare provider and should be tested for Zika.
-Pregnant women and their partners living in or visiting this area should follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and the sexual transmission of Zika.
-Women and men who traveled to this area wait at least eight weeks before trying for a pregnancy; men with symptoms of Zika wait at least six months before trying for a pregnancy.
-Women and men who live in or frequently travel to the area and are considering pregnancy
should weigh the risks associated with the Zika virus.
-Anyone with possible exposure to Zika virus and symptoms of Zika should be tested for Zika.
Though Zika, and its seemingly inevitable spread, panics the CDC, the virus probably won’t threaten many lives. Pregnant women should worry about potential of their baby being born with microcephaly; otherwise, the virus produces effects no different than a bad flu. The main concern for the CDC is that there currently is no vaccination, so the virus will continue to spread. So, those in the Miami area, remember to douse yourself in bug spray when you head outdoors.
Tom is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? but with more sunscreen and jorts.