Zika: What to Know Before You Travel

zika virus and travel map

Before Booking your Next Vacation Abroad, Understand Where Zika May Be Found

In order to take steps to protect yourself and be made aware of the implications of the Zika virus, here at the offices of Sisselman Medical Group, we would like to advise our patients of the current facts regarding this virus.

The Zika virus is an emerging mosquito borne virus. The incubation period, though not thoroughly clear at this time, it is believed to be a few days. The symptoms are quite similar to other infections and include fever, muscle and joint aches, headache and conjunctivitis. These symptoms are mostly mild and can last from two to seven days. Confirmation of the presence of Zika can only be diagnosed by laboratory testing of the blood or other body fluids such as saliva or urine. In most cases, the effects of the virus will be mild for the most part but special attention should be given to those most vulnerable such as children, the elderly, the infirm and pregnant women.

zika virus map
Zika Virus Infection Map

Since the Aedes mosquito is most active during the day, it is highly advisable to use precautions both day and night. This includes covering your body up with long sleeved shirts and pants if travelling to effected areas, the use of insect repellents containing DEET , applying sunscreen before the use of insect repellent and using air conditioning and keep doors and windows closed.

Since four out of five people have no symptoms, new guidelines recommend pregnant women be offered tests between two to twelve weeks after travel to areas where this virus has been prevalent. In cases where women are planning on becoming pregnant, if you recently traveled to effected areas, it may be advisable to wait a period of time before trying to become pregnant. Pregnant women or those planing on becoming pregnant in the near future may want to reconsider plans to visit countries affected by Zika. Engage in a conversation with Dr. Sisselman regarding this matter. Men who have a sexual partner who is pregnant should use condoms or refrain from sexual contact until the pregnancy comes to term if they have traveled to an area where the virus has been found.

It is believed that within the female body, this virus may travel across the placenta and possibly affect the health of the unborn baby. Microcephaly, where the brain of the baby does not develop properly and sight damage in infants has been reported in women who have been exposed to the mosquito bite which causes Zika virus. There has also been instances of a link reported recently of miscarriage in Latin America and the Caribbean.

zika virus prevention symptoms
What to do if you’ve been infected with Zika

On a positive note, a minimal amount of people have been infected within the USA. Also, New York City health officials are making every conceivable effort to make available to pregnant women who have traveled to countries where the virus outbreak has been problematic, to receive blood testing. A significant number of outbreaks of this virus have been announced in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, French Guiana, Haiti, Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, just to name a few. An up-dated listing can be obtained on the internet or contact the offices of Dr. Sisselman.

Our goal here is not to instill unnecessary fear in relation to this virus but to advise our patients of the latest facts pertaining to the Zika virus. As there are possibly unknown ramifications to exposure to the Zika virus, our main objective is to keep our patients well-informed and protected to the best of our ability. In that regard, please do not hesitate to contact the offices of Dr. Sisselman with any and all concerns you may have. Taking every precaution will enable all of us to help to contain the virus until such time as a cure is found.

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