The Zika Travel Warnings Now Include Asia
The CDC is advising pregnant women to "consider postponing nonessential travel" to 11 countries in Southeast Asia that pose a risk of infection.
Last month, the first-known cases of the Zika virus transmitted by mosquitoes (rather than as the result of travel abroad or sexual contact) within the continental U.S. hit Florida, causing the CDC to issue a domestic travel warning for the Miami area.
And now there's yet another risky area to have on your radar: CDC officials just issued yet another travel warning, this time for certain parts of Southeast Asia from which travelers have returned with a Zika infection. While the latest warning is not as serious as the travel warnings for Latin American and Caribbean countries hit hard by Zika, officials are advising pregnant women to "consider postponing nonessential travel" to 11 countries where there have been reports of local transmission of the virus, including Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand-which confirmed today its first two cases of Zika-related birth defects. (To freshen up on the Zika risks, especially for pregnant women, see: 7 Things You Should Know About the Zika Virus.)
The CDC explained on their website that while "the level of this risk is unknown and likely lower than in areas where Zika virus is newly introduced and spreading widely," U.S. travelers to endemic areas like Southeast Asia (where a large number of local residents are likely to be immune, making outbreaks less common) are susceptible to the virus.
"Some travelers to areas with Zika will become infected while traveling but will not become sick until they return home and they might not have any symptoms," the CDC says. "To help stop the spread of Zika, travelers should use insect repellent for three weeks after travel to areas with Zika to prevent mosquito bites."
For updates about the Zika virus (including travel precautions) check the CDC's Zika website.