February 2, 2016

Travel advisory issued for Zika virus regions

The federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel advisory for visitors to parts of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Samoa and Cape Verde where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes species mosquito, which are aggressive daytime biters. 80 percent of infected people have no symptoms, and those who develop clinical illness generally have a mild, self-limited course. Severe disease is uncommon. However, there is concern that Zika virus infection in pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk of congenital microcephaly.

All visitors to affected areas are urged to practice strict mosquito precautions including use of insect repellant (that contains DEET, picaridin, or IR3535), wear long clothing if weather permits, and remove standing water. Because there is neither a vaccine nor prophylactic medications available to prevent Zika virus infection, CDC recommends that all pregnant women consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who visited an affected area during their pregnancy are encouraged to have testing to rule out infection.

A list of countries included in the travel advisory is available here: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information

As always, Vanderbilt employees planning international business travel should schedule a preparatory visit to the Occupational Health Clinic, ideally 4 to 6 weeks prior to departure. Details of the occupational travel service are available on the OHC website at http://healthandwellness.vanderbilt.edu/news/2011/09/international-travel-exam/

Leisure travelers are encouraged to seek medical advice from their primary care provider or the Vanderbilt Travel Clinic before a trip.

Learn more about Zika on the CDC website athttp://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html