Zika virus prompts travel advisories

The spread of the Zika virus in several countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America has prompted travel alerts. This includes airliners offering refunds or credits to those who need to postpone their travel. Some of the countries with confirmed Zika virus cases are on red alert as their sanitary institutions fiercely fight against the spread of the disease.

The sickness poses a special threat to pregnant women since apparently there is a connection between Zika and having babies with microcephaly. Airliners have advised pregnant women not to travel to the countries on this “black list”. They are offering waivers for passengers headed to the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico. 

As with the US, there are a few cases inland that are presently under control.  However, some commonwealth countries already have several confirmed cases, which have placed Health departments on alert. There have been registered cases of Zika virus in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Barbados, and Florida with the virus spreading to islands of the vicinity at a rather fast rate.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is constantly updating their database to plot down confirmed cases of Zika in the mentioned countries to better asses travel advisories.  Testing on citizens who have traveled and come back to and from affected nations are constantly being tested.  The CDC has also issued information on how the virus is transmitted sexually. 

Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy from the Department of Health in Pennsylvania said, “We are following the guidelines set forth by the experts at the CDC and are fully committed to taking extra vigilance against this emerging health threat.”

The Zika virus is primarily transmitted through a mosquito bite. Health officials believe that some mosquitoes could have been carried into the US by some travelers.  The symptoms of the disease are very similar to those of dengue fever.   

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