PRESS RELEASE – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted a Zika virus travel notice for Saint Lucia following reports of local mosquito transmission of Zika virus infection on the island.
Local mosquito transmission means that mosquitoes in the area are infected with Zika virus and are spreading it to people.
Because zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, CDC recommends that travelers to Saint Lucia protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Zika Virus in Pregnancy
Zika virus can also be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and infection is linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes.
CDC recommends special precautions for the following groups:
- Women who are pregnant:
- Should not travel to Saint Lucia.
- If you must travel, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
- If you have a male partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with zika, either use condoms or do not have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) during your pregnancy.
- Women who are trying to become pregnant:
- Before you or your male partner travel, talk to your doctor 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.
- Men who have traveled to an area with zika and have a pregnant partner should use condoms or not have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) during the pregnancy.
- Sexual transmission of zika virus from a male partner is also possible, so travelers are also encouraged to use condoms or not have sex.
Most people infected with zika virus do not get sick. Among those who do develop symptoms, sickness is usually mild, with symptoms that last for several days to a week.
Zika may also be linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis for a few weeks to several months. Most people fully recover from GBS, but some have permanent damage.