SEGUIN GAZETTE – As knowledge increases about the Zika virus, the Center for Disease Control is warning the public about traveling to active Zika virus transmitted areas, which are hitting closer to home.
According to the CDC, as of April 13, highly transmitted areas include Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and American Somoa.
The CDC predicts a spread of the virus can come into the U.S. because of summer-time travel and encourages pregnant, or women trying to become pregnant, not to travel to an area with Zika.
Even local travel agencies have been advised to communicate these risks to their customers.
“We do let people know because it’s such a complicated issue,” general manager for Ascot Travel in Seguin, John Spellmann said. “We refer them (customers) to CDC for more information … almost every major cruise line, like Carnival has sent us press releases on it.”
A Carnival Cruise Line press release states, “Dear Travel Agent, We would like to provide you with some important health-related information to share with your clients. On January 15, 2016 … (CDC) upgraded their Zika virus travel health notice to ‘Alert Level 2,’ (Practice Enhanced Precautions) with specific affected areas of the Caribbean and Central and South America. … As of April 12, 2016, the CDC notice now includes St. Lucia, WI, among the affected areas.”
The press release continues to list symptoms and warn pregnant women of the impact Zika can have on them.
“Should your clients experience any symptoms of fever, headache, skin rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes) while sailing with us, please have them contact the ship’s Medical Center or their doctor if they have already returned home,” it said. “Remind them they should tell their healthcare provider about their recent travel.”
Furthermore, the CDC encouraged the public to take precautions even if they do not feel any symptoms.
“Even if they do not feel sick, travelers returning to the United States from an area with Zika should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks so that they do not spread Zika to uninfected mosquitos,” the CDC said.