CDC issues travel notices for Zika virus in Central, South America

A distribution map of the zika virus prepared by the CDC; data represents information up until Dec. 2015. | Courtesy of the CDC
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued travel notices this week regarding recent outbreaks of the Zika virus in Mexico, and parts of Central and South America.

The CDC reports that the virus has been reported in the following countries as of Thursday: El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil. Currently, the CDC’s watch level is at one, which indicates that normal precautions should be taken by travelers that plan to visit any of these locations.

The disease is primarily spread through mosquito bites, so experts advise everyone to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts and use insect repellant that features DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus oil. It is also recommended that bed nets be used if staying outdoors or at campsites.

The CDC reports that approximately one fifth of individuals present symptoms of the disease, which include joint pain, rash, fever, eye redness and muscle pain. The disease is considered mild, and no reported fatalities have been associated with it. The disease shares similarities with dengue fever and the chikungunya virus, which are also spread through mosquito bites.

Those who experience such symptoms are encouraged to seek medical help and prevent further spread through counter-mosquito activities.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1600 Clifton Rd Atlanta, GA 30329

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