Tuesday, February 02, 2016

US adds four destinations to travel alert over Zika virus

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday added four destinations to its travel alert over Zika, a mosquito-borne virus believed to cause birth defects.

The added locations where the Zika virus is spreading are American Samoa, Costa Rica, Curacao, and Nicaragua, the CDC said in a statement.

The previous list inclued 24 countries and territories in the Americas, the Pacific Islands and Africa, such as Brazil, Samoa and Cape Verde.

The CDC travel alert urged pregnant women to consider postponing travel to the affected areas.

Zika, transmitted primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, is believed to cause birth defects such as microcephaly, or small heads.

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat the disease.

About one in five people infected with Zika virus will develop symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain, and pink eye.

The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and the case fatality rate is low.

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