This article is accurate as of the time of its writing on February 1, 2016
On Monday February 1, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced an international health emergency over Zika virus. There is daily growing concern over the rapidly spreading virus as four million people are expected to be infected by the end of the year. The CDC has advised pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant against traveling to virus stricken countries, as the virus has led to confirmed cases of Guillain- Barré syndrome and microcephaly.
At this time, Thomson Family Adventures is continuing to run its scheduled trips. While we are operating our trips going forward, we want our travelers to exercise caution while traveling to any destination.
Here is what you need to know about Zika virus per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of 02/01/2016:
Where have virus cases been confirmed?
Prior to 2015, the virus has been found in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands.
In May 2015, the Pan American Health organization (PAHO) issued an alert of confirmed virus cases in Brazil. The virus has spread beyond Brazil into several Latin American countries.
No transmitted cases have been reported in the continental U.S. but cases have been reported from travelers returning from recent travels.
How is the virus spread?
The virus is spread to humans by mosquito bites, NOT by human-to-human contact. The virus feeds into the bloodstream and can remain in the bloodstream for a few days but it can remain for a longer period of time.
What are the common symptoms of the virus?
The majority of Zika virus infections do not present symptoms, and in roughly one in five cases, the Zika virus infection results in a minor illness known as Zika fever. This can cause fever and a rash.
About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will become ill. Symptoms of Zika virus are joint pain, rash, fever or conjunctivitis. Muscle pain and headache may also occur. While the incubation period of the virus is not known, it is believed to be a few days to a week.
The illness is mild and symptoms can last from a few days to a week. Some patients may not realize they are ill due to mild symptoms.
Is there treatment for the virus?
There are no known vaccines or medications used to prevent and/or treat Zika virus. In order to treat the symptoms, get plenty of rest and take pain reliever such as acetaminophen for joint and muscle aches, drink fluids. Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen. If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
How can I prevent infection of Zika virus?
If you are traveling abroad where mosquitos are found, wear long sleeved shirts and long pants. Stay in air conditioning or places that have screen windows and doors.
Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items and sleep under a mosquito bed net when traveling or outside. Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellants ONLY, as these have been evaluated for effectiveness.
Some of this information is directly copied from the CDC website. For complete information about Zika virus, please visit: