Concerns About Zika Are Affecting Global Tourism

15th Mar 2016
Concerns About Zika Are Affecting Global Tourism

Zika Virus is a hot topic right now, and for good reason. With no vaccine and no real cure, Zika Virus can ruin your week, or worse! Because it can cause severe impairment of fetal development, particularly to the central nervous system, this is a scary disease for women who might be pregnant or become pregnant.

But Zika Virus isn’t as likely to be contracted every place on earth. It’s primary mode of transmission is through mosquito bites. The mosquito bites an infected person, and the virus carries on living in the mosquito’s body, long enough to be transferred intact into the body of the next victim. This means that a travel destination has to have two major ingredients to be a recipe for high Zika risk: 1) lots of mosquitos, and 2) high rates of Zika Virus.

This makes parts of the world like Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean ripe for Zika outbreaks. Some of the countries in these regions have already seen widespread Zika infections. And this is keeping lots of travelers home, especially those who couldn’t risk the personal torment of having a baby with major neural/cranial mis-development.

That’s Zika virus in broad strokes. But what is the actual danger of contracting Zika Virus, even if traveling overseas in an area with high mosquito activity. Here are a few things that everyone should know before you sign up with that coupon code.

The Symptoms. Zika Virus feels like having the flu. It has all the aches and pains, the coughing and sneezing, the nausea and vomiting, of a bad case of influenza. It is often misdiagnosed as food-poisoning as well, especially when the symptoms are especially acute. Because there is no cure for Zika, people who think they might have it should be tested before they spread it to someone else.

How it Spreads. Zika Virus spreads through direct transmission from blood to blood, or through other body fluids. That’s why it’s most common to get Zika through a mosquito bite. But, Zika can also be passed along through sex or other methods by which influenza is passed around. It’s possible to travel within central American countries without contracting it. But if you do catch it, you should be conscious of the contagion risk to family and friends.

Where to Travel With the Lowest Risk. Because mosquitoes are the primary vehicle for Zika Virus, traveling within cool climates is the best way to avoid their bites. There are, of course, parts of the world with tons of mosquitoes which don’t have Zika, like parts of Alaska for instance. In most cases, it’ll behoove the Zika conscious traveler to stick to populous, developed, and cool-climated parts of the world.

If you happen to catch Zika virus, it’s not the end of the world. If you happen to be pregnant or risk becoming pregnant, ultrasounds can determine how your baby is developing. Simple research should inform you about how much risk you run traveling to another part of the world. Stay safe, stay aware, and you should steer well clear of Zika.


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