Zika virus: Health scare leads US, Canada, UK to issue travel advisories

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Zika which has caused a widening health scare across the Americas has lead travel advisories and alerts being issued by many countries. United States, Canada, United Kingdom, European Union and Australia have issued warnings about Latin American and Carribean nations.

Zika virus is causing a widening health scare across tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, where it has spread to over 20 countries. The virus is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito, the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. There is no vaccine for Zika.

Researchers in Brazil and WHO say there is growing evidence that links Zika to microcephaly, a neurological disorder in which babies are born with smaller-than-normal heads and brains, but information about the possible transmission of Zika from infected mothers to babies during pregnancy or childbirth is “very limited”, PAHO says.

In light of all this information, many nations have sent out warnings about travelling to nations in Latin America and the Carribean.

United States

The United States, where four cases have been detected from people travelling back from South America, has advised pregnant women to postpone their travel plans to 14 South American nations. Canada has advised pregnant female travellers to contact their medical advisors if they are their planning on a trip to the affected countries.

United Kingdom

Three British nationals have contracted the disease. The National Travel Health Network and Centre has citizens to ‘consider avoid travel’ to these nations and the foreign office has asked them to search their site for specific details about the countries they want to travel to.

Australia

The country’s foreign affairs ministry has asked pregnant women to rethink about going to Zika affected nations.

European Union

While the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has said that there is no proof that anyone in any of the member state has acquired the condition. But it recommended that member states should educate health workers, especially obstetricians, pediatricians and neurologists about the disease. It also suggested that member state advise pregnant women to discuss their travel plans with their doctors.

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