If you’re headed to the Caribbean or anywhere south of the border, there is an excellent chance you are headed somewhere covered by a Zika travel advisory.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged women who are pregnant to consider postponing travel to more than thirty countries and territories with outbreaks of Zika virus — a warning that now extends to virtually all of Central America and much of the Caribbean and South America.
The basis for the warning is Zika’s potential to cause a range of birth defects in babies born to women infected during pregnancy.
Because Zika virus is carried by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, women who are pregnant and travel to these destinations are urged to take special precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Zika generally causes only mild symptoms in those who are infected with it — fatigue, aches, and pains are most commonly reported, along with a skin rash.
“Mosquito prevention strategies include wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants,” the CDC says, “using US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents, using permethrin-treated clothing and gear, and staying and sleeping in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.”
Update: As of April 19, 2016, this map is no longer being updated. See the CDC’s Zika guidance for current information.