If you are pregnant there’s a fairly long list of places health authorities are advising you to avoid due to the danger of the Zika virus. The list includes: Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin and the Virgin Islands, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Cape Verde, Samoa, and Mexico.The danger is that the Zika virus is linked to a spike in a serious and non-reversible birth defect in Brazil, microcephaly, where babies’ heads are abnormally small and their brains may not completely develop as well as other birth defects and ‘poor pregnancy outcomes’ as the US Center for Disease Control puts it. Unfortunately, there is no cure or treatment at this time.
The CDC has issued a Level 2 Alert, which calls for using Enhanced Protection Practices. This is a middle level alert between Level 1, which would mean practicing the usual precautions and Level 3 which suggests avoiding all but non-essential travel. Good practices include using mosquito repellent or clothes coated with it and protective clothing and screens, as well as avoiding areas likely to have a lot of mosquitoes as well as certain times of day when they are particularly active.