The CDC has issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Travel notices are designed to inform travelers and clinicians about current health issues related to specific destinations. Travel to these areas may continue, however, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. All other travelers should take extra care to avoid mosquito bites.
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING CDC MESSAGE CAREFULLY
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued a health and travel advisory regarding Zika virus in the Americas. Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus, and to date has been identified in over 20 countries or territories in South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico. Local transmission of Zika virus has not been documented in the continental United States. However, Zika virus infections have been reported in travelers returning to the U.S.
The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Clinical disease is usually mild and includes sudden onset of fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis that lasts for a few days to a week. There have also been reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome among some people infected with the virus. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
- Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.
For current information, visit the CDC Zika virus website at http://www.cdc.gov/zika
FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND WOMEN TRYING TO BECOME PREGNANT
During the current outbreak, Zika virus infections have been confirmed in several infants with birth defects and in fetal losses in women infected during pregnancy. Until more is known and out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant who do travel to these areas should talk to their doctors or other healthcare providers first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
The CDC has developed guidance for pregnant women who may be traveling to areas in the Americas where Zika virus is circulating, "Interim Guidelines for Pregnant Women During a Zika Virus Outbreak-United States, 2016."
FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Because our orphanage property is ocean facing and typically very dry, we believe the risk to be very low that anyone will be affected by the Zika virus. In order to ensure the highest standard of safety, however, we ask that everyone plan to actively protect themselves via the preventive procedures mentioned above.
For the majority of people, the Zika virus is very similar to contracting the common flu. Because of the pregnancy risks associated with the virus, however, we strongly encourage anyone pregnant or anyone planning on getting pregnant in the near future not to travel into Mexico. It is also believed that the virus can be transmitted sexually, so any males planning to start a family should be tested for the Zika virus beforehand to ensure a clean bill of health.
As much as we would love to have you visit, your health and that of your unborn child are our highest priority. May God bless you all.