We have been to Costa Rica, Panama, Peru in past few years and now we are reluctant to travel to similar region because of the Zika virus. We would like to go to Cuba, but the government will never release any trustworthy information about Zika virus in their country.
Scientists say the Brazil Olympics will significantly contribute to rapid spread of the Zika virus as travelers who have been bitten by local infected mosquitos return home with it (symptoms or no symptoms, it is now known to spread via sex as well as mosquitos). Apparently study shows Zika virus remains in sperm up to 6 months (maybe longer? study still ongoing).
I was not planning any travel to Zika locations anyway, but it would probably give me pause, at least for the next year or two while the scientists/doctors are still learning about the situation.
As you are probably aware, Zika apparently causes more than birth defects (and contaminated sperm), it can cause adults to have health problems of their own, some of them potentially serious and/or life-long.
About a month ago, I saw an article on accuweather.com giving 10 locations in South America that can be visited by tourists without too much risk of encountering Zika-carrying mosquitoes because they are elevated high enough that the mosquitoes don't live at those altitudes. Some of the locations sounded like nice places to visit, in any event.
There is still some risk when flying into a lower-altitude airport and travelling for a few hours or a day or two in order to get to the higher-altitude places, of course. ...I think they listed one South American airport in that article that was at a sufficiently-high-enough elevation not to be in the Zika zone.
--- "rapid spread of the Zika virus as travelers who have been bitten by local infected mosquitos return home with it (symptoms or no symptoms, it is now known to spread via sex as well as mosquitos)."
You are right -- it's probably going to spread to the US sooner or later anyway, via infected human travellers that give it to mosquitoes here and then they fly off and bite/infect other humans, etc., plus via sexual transmission.
"rapid spread of the Zika virus as travelers who have been bitten by local infected mosquitoes return home with it (symptoms or no symptoms, it is now known to spread via sex as well as mosquitoes)."
You are right -- it's probably going to spread to the US sooner or later anyway, via infected human travelers that give it to mosquitoes here and then they fly off and bite/infect other humans, etc., plus via sexual transmission. +++++++++++++++++
I've heard public announcement in the airports of Hong Kong that advise travelers from Zika regions to spray insect repellent on themselves for two weeks upon returning to Hong Kong. Probably to prevent local mosquitoes from biting those returned travelers and spreading the disease locally. Doesn't that imply Zika virus is not so much in blood after two weeks? Have to found any such recommendation on internet.
chc said: Doesn't that imply Zika virus is not so much in blood after two weeks? Have to found any such recommendation on internet.
I do not know.
It's hard to know what advice to go on, because I expect that a lot of the information being published is preliminary. The rapid outbreak in South America has been a surprise, they say, and apparently there wasn't a lot of past research into this virus.
I am not a medical/biology person, so I don't have much knowledge on viruses, but I think that maybe they take certain paths after infecting a person -- moving from one area of the body to the other over time. Maybe it stays in sperm for 6 months, maybe it stays in flowing blood for 2 weeks, maybe (like the chicken pox/shingles virus) it buries itself deep and stays in the spinal cord for the rest of the person's life... I do not know.
It sounds logical that the risk of transmission to other people by "giving" your infected blood to a mosquito (which then goes on to bite another person) would be the greatest in the first couple of weeks after you have been infected.
No. I have taken 18 overseas trips in the past eight years. None to South America, but I have come back sick several times. I call them "airplane colds." Long flights are a Petri Dish full of germs, viruses, bacteria, etc. If you're going to get sick, it will probably be from the flights.
I barely overheard the national tv news tonight while in a different room -- it was a report about the CDC / Congress funding for Zika research today --- I think they said that Zika is now reported to be in 55 countries. The spokesperson was saying that this is a very serious global health issue.
"Zika virus could hit Europe within WEEKS: Madeira and the Black Sea are on high alert - but France, Italy and Spain are also at 'moderate risk' - World Health Organisation says Madeira and parts of Russia and Georgia on the Black Sea coast are at high risk - In these areas there are established populations of the Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes - known to carry the Zika virus - 18 countries - a third of Europe - at moderate risk of the virus because Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are present"
oppidum said: I barely overheard the national tv news tonight while in a different room -- it was a report about the CDC / Congress funding for Zika research today --- I think they said that Zika is now reported to be in 55 countries. The spokesperson was saying that this is a very serious global health issue. link to congress funding over $1 billion now.
imbatman said: So if everyone's so sure it will get to us anyway, why does it matter if you get it next week in Puerto Rico, or in 4 months sitting on your back porch?
If you're pregnant, or expect to get pregnant very soon, you should think about it. Otherwise, Meh. Who said "everyone's so sure it will get to us anyway"? Malaria is mosquito transmitted, Ebola doesn't even need a mosquito, etc. But would you travel to malaria area without medication? Would you go to Ebola area during Flare up? Then why would you go to Zika area without any known medication or vaccine available and there is known Flare up?
OP ("chc"), I saw online earlier today some official recommendations about Zika, I'll see if I can find them...
Well, I don't see the exact article that I read earlier today. I had thought it was on the Daily Mail Online, but it probably wasn't.
However, here are some other articles that are pertinent:
Tourist [from North Queensland, Australia] who travelled to Thailand and Bali tests positive for the 'head-shrinking' Zika virus –- team is sent to spray North Queensland town for mosquitoes "Dr Gair said it was important that residents were vigilant about keeping the mosquitoes away. 'Now more than ever, it is vital that our community has the facts about the zika/dengue mosquito. They live in and around your home, have a short life expectancy, do not fly far and are likely to bite people on the feet during the day. You may not even notice them. Removing breeding sites in and around homes and killing these mosquitoes needs to become as natural as putting out the garbage bins.' Common dengue/zika mosquito breeding sites include tyres, buckets, toys and pot-plant bases. Residents are also urged to ensure roof gutters are not blocked and breeding mosquitoes, and to use indoor surface spray, mozzie zappers and coils around the house. Dr Gair said the type of mosquitoes that transmit Zika and dengue only bred around homes and in urban areas, not in swamps or creeks." http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3615600/Queensland-resid...
Detroit Tigers star reveals he was bedridden with Zika virus for TWO WEEKS during off season after catching disease in Venezuela "...Rodriguez, who said it took him two full months to fully recover, warned that Zika was something people 'have to be careful with and worry about. 'There's no vaccine for it. It's not like you take a shot and (improve)." http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3619826/Detroit-Tigers-s...
How can YOU avoid catching Zika? "as temperatures rise during the summer months, it becomes increasingly more likely that the Zika-carrying mosquitoes that so far, have remained in South and Central America will reach parts of the US. ....The southern states are most likely to see cases of home-borne Zika virus, but the Aedes mosquito has been found as far north as New York in the east, and Sacramento in the west." http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3620667/How-avoid-catc...
Rio could host 'Olympic Games of brain damage' if this summer's event is not moved or postponed, say experts "The letter cites that the Zika virus has more serious medical consequences than previously known and that the emergency contains 'many uncertainties'. One co-author said if this year's Games went ahead it risked becoming 'the Olympics of brain damage'. WHO declared the Zika epidemic to be a global emergency in February and in its latest assessment this week, said it 'does not see an overall decline in the outbreak'." http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-3613591/Rio-host-Olympi...
There is a very good book on the subject coming out in a few weeks, ZIKA, by Donald G. McNeil, Jr., a NY Times science and health reporter specializing in plagues and pestilences. I have had a preview look at it and highly recommend it. I started the book quite ignorant on the subject and learned a lot. From news reports, I had thought Zika poses a health threat to just pregnant women and their babies. It also has been linked to Guillain-Barre. Some of you sound much better informed than I was. For those seeking information, this book is a good resource.
CHC, I think you are wise to take Zika into consideration when making travel plans.
jessicak said: There is a very good book on the subject coming out in a few weeks, ZIKA, by Donald G. McNeil, Jr., a NY Times science and health reporter specializing in plagues and pestilences. I have had a preview look at it and highly recommend it. I started the book quite ignorant on the subject and learned a lot. From news reports, I had thought Zika poses a health threat to just pregnant women and their babies. It also has been linked to Guillain-Barre. Some of you sound much better informed than I was. For those seeking information, this book is a good resource.
CHC, I think you are wise to take Zika into considering when making travel plans.
Based on medical investigations into the case of a French woman who caught Zika in France from her boyfriend who went to Brazil for a work trip and came down with it when he was there, then gave it to her soon after he got back to France, they are saying that it is possible that the virus can be transmitted by either oral sex or kissing (you can find out more about the case online and how exactly they were physically intimate after he returned to France and what the doctors' swabs of her various body areas showed, if you are curious about how the doctors concluded that!)
I read that the advice in South America for pregnant women is to limit kissing others while they are pregnant, and sharing eating utensils and drinking containers with others, in case it can be transmitted through saliva.
Also, I read yesterday that 5 of the global top-25 men's tennis players have now pulled out of the Olympics due to Zika.
In the Deal Discussion forum today I posted some research and recommendations about avoiding mosquito bites, including the entire lab test chart about chemical mosquito repellents from Consumer Reports' May 2016 edition.
Lab tech at U of Pittsburgg accidently pokes self with Zika contaminated needle and gets the disease...
Even so, the researcher plans to wear insect repellent, long sleeves and pants for three weeks, according to the University of Pittsburgh. This aligns with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for all returning travelers (from Zika virus areas), even if they do not feel sick, to prevent spreading the virus through mosquitoes that have been previously found in about 30 states , including Pennsylvania.
One of the Daily Mail articles I linked to in an earlier post said that when a guy in Australia was diagnosed with Zika (he picked it up abroad) the district government sprayed his whole town (at least, the outside areas) with mosquito killer, so other residents could be kept safer from mosquitoes that could bite him and move on in the town to infect others.
I wonder if they are going to do anything like that in Pittsburgh.
Maybe it is so guaranteed now to spread in the US that an action like that would be deemed to be a waste of time/resources, I don't know.
In the last 6 months since Zika got popular we've been to Costa Rica and Peru on separate trips. I'm more worried about Chikungunya, Yellow Fever and Dengue (I've had it in the past), they seem to be more prevalent anyways. If you take the proper precautions, wear protective clothing and slather on the bug repellent (DEET, not herbal/organic bullshit) you should be fine. I see way to many people wearing shorts, covered in bites from head to toe, its pretty obvious that they didn't prepare.
Zika's probably the last thing that Brazil needs to worry about given all their other issues! But seriously, I'll likely avoid Central/South America and possibly the Caribbean until, as Trump would say, "we understand what the heck is going on".
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