The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added two destinations Tuesday to the list of places with Zika-related travel warnings.
While working with public health officials to monitor for ongoing Zika virus transmission, the CDC added Trinidad and Tobago and the Marshall Islands to the list of regions where Zika transmission is ongoing. The CDC warning is a Level 2 warning, saying travelers should "Practice Enhanced Precautions."
Specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are often difficult to determine and are likely to continue to change over time. For a full list of affected countries/regions, click here.
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The best way to prevent being infected by the virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes that spread Zika are aggressive daytime biters, the CDC said, though they have also been known to bite after dusk. While a Zika vaccine is being developed, there is currently no vaccine or medicine available to treat a Zika infection.
The CDC warns travelers headed to regions where the virus is present could be come infected and not become sick until after returning home, or they could simply carry the virus home and never become sick.
"Some people who are infected do not have any symptoms. People who do have symptoms have reported fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Other commonly reported symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and the number of deaths is low. Travelers to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission should monitor for symptoms or illness upon return. If they become sick, they should tell their healthcare professional where they have traveled and when," the CDC said.
Zika Virus and Pregnancy: CDC
Until more is known, CDC continues to recommend that pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant take the following precautions.
• Consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
• If you must travel to or live in one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.
• If you have a male partner who lives in or has traveled to an area where Zika transmission is ongoing, either abstain from sex or use condoms consistently and correctly for the duration of your pregnancy.
Women trying to get pregnant
• Before you or your male partner travel, talk to your healthcare provider about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection.
• You and your male partner should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been reported in patients with probable Zika virus infection in French Polynesia and Brazil. Research efforts underway will also examine the link between Zika and GBS.
14 New Reports of Sexual Transmission of Zika Investigated
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday it is investigating 14 new reports of sexual transmission of Zika, including several involving pregnant women.
"In two of the new suspected sexual transmission events, Zika virus infection has been confirmed in women whose only known risk factor was sexual contact with an ill male partner who had recently traveled to an area with local Zika virus transmission," the CDC said in a statement. "Testing for the male partners is still pending."
Confirmatory tests are pending in four other suspected sexual transmission events, the CDC said. And an investigation is ongoing in eight other suspected events.
The new cases involve possible transmission of the virus from men to their sex partners, according to the CDC. Currently, there is no evidence that women can transmit Zika virus to their sex partners, but more research needs to be done.
Earlier this month, Dallas health officials reported the first known case of sexual transmission of Zika in the current outbreak. Zika has been spreading rapidly across the Americas, prompting the World Health Organization to declare it an international public health emergency.
Mosquito bites remain the primary vehicle for Zika transmission but sexual transmission of the virus infection is possible, the CDC said.