C.D.C. Issues Travel Alert for 8 More Locations Over Zika Virus


Federal health officials on Friday added eight destinations to the list of those to which pregnant women should not travel in order to avoid infection with the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborns.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and Guyana, as well as the island nations of Samoa, in the South Pacific, and Cape Verde, which sits off the northwest coast of Africa.

St. Martin, Barbados and Guadeloupe are popular tourist destinations, and the travel industry will likely be affected by the virus, which is spread by mosquitoes. Health officials in the United States Virgin Islands announced on Friday that a 42-year-old woman with no history of recent travel had been infected.

The C.D.C. urged women trying to become pregnant to talk to their physicians about the risks of Zika virus infection before traveling. Only one in five infected people develop symptoms like rashes, red eyes and fevers.

Women who become infected, especially early in pregnancy, seem to be at higher risk of giving birth to babies with tiny heads and deformed brains, a condition called microcephaly.

Earlier this week, the C.D.C. urged blood testing for pregnant women who have experienced symptoms during or shortly after travel to a country in which the Zika virus is spreading.

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In October, Cape Verde reported the first local transmission of Zika virus infection, and Samoa reported its first in November. It was not immediately clear why those countries were not part of the C.D.C.’s earlier travel advisory.

The latest travel advice remained a Level 2 advisory, meaning it concerns only travelers with specific risk factors — in this case, pregnancy. But Guillain-Barré syndrome, a potentially life-threatening paralysis, has been found in men and women with probable Zika infection in Brazil and French Polynesia.

The C.D.C. is helping Brazil conduct research to determine if any link exists between the Zika virus and Guillian-Barré, a condition in which the immune system attacks part of the nervous system. Most people with the syndrome eventually recover.

All visitors to countries in which the Zika virus is spreading are advised to avoid getting mosquito bites by wearing long pants and long-sleeve shirts, as well as by applying insect repellents containing DEET.



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