Will the Zika Virus Affect Your Vacation to Colombia?
Zika, the mosquito-born virus, seems to be a trending topic as it’s spreading like wildfire in the Americas and predicted to affect 3 to 4 million people. The Zika virus has no vaccine so far which can seem pretty scary according to the effects we have seen that Zika has had on babies in Brazil. But is it really a reason to cancel your vacation to Colombia and the Caribbean?
Here are some facts about the Zika virus including symptoms of the virus and if Zika will affect your travel plans this year.
Symptoms of Zika
- Red eyes
- Body aches
Symptoms can last up to 4-7 days and have an incubation period of 3-12 days. Zika is not deadly and a whooping 80% of people who have it don’t even know it. In addition, the World Health Organization says that is cannot be transmitted from person to person and Zika is not an epidemic. So far, it doesn’t sound too serious right?
So what’s the big deal?
One word: Microcephaly. A neurological disorder that results in babies being born with small heads and brains. This happens to infants born to women infected with Zika DURING their pregnancies.
Microcephaly has been largely observed in Brazil, where 4,000 cases have been reported since Zika was detected.
Women who are pregnant are being told to avoid affected countries until they have given birth. However, if they have already traveled to such affected countries, they are being encouraged to get tested for Zika for the sake of the health of their child.
Affected Countries by Zika
Mexico, Brazil, Barbados, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guadalupe, Guatemala, Guyana, la Guayana Francesa, Haití, Honduras, Martinica, México, Panamá, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, island of San Martín, Surinam and Venezuela have seen cases of Zika infection.
How to prevent the Zika virus.
The Zika virus comes from the same female mosquito that spreads dengue and yellow fever. She mostly stings during the day unlike malaria mosquitos who sting at night. The Zika mosquito loves to live inside the house in warm conditions and stagnant water.
- Wear repellant during the day
- Stay in air conditioned areas
- Place mosquito screens on windows
- Avoid places with stagnant water
Bogotastic, what do you think about vacationing in affected areas?
Unless you are pregnant or expecting, you shouldn’t cancel your trip to Colombia or put it off over the Zika virus. It doesn’t have long lasting damaging effects on women, children and men. Zika will not affect a woman’s baby if she decides to get pregnant in the future. And the fact that only 20% of those affected by the virus actually feel symptoms of fever and body aches (which isn’t as bad as malaria or chikunguya, which leaves you which lifelong arthritis) is not a major concern.
So don’t unpack your bags and reroute your vacation over a little mosquito IF you’re not pregnant or expecting!