Zika Virus Update, Other Travel Warnings; Flu Activity 1/23/16

February 3rd, 2016

CDC added the following destinations to the Zika virus travel alerts: Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde, and Samoa. On January 15, CDC issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory; Brazil; Colombia; El Salvador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Martinique; Mexico; Panama; Paraguay; Suriname; and Venezuela. Specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are often difficult to determine and are likely to continue to change over time.

Travelers to areas where cases of Zika virus infection have been recently confirmed are at risk of being infected with the Zika virus. Travelers to these areas may also be at risk of being infected with dengue or chikungunya viruses. Mosquitoes that spread Zika, chikungunya, and dengue are aggressive daytime biters, prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people.

Some travelers to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission will become infected while traveling but will not become sick until they return home. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Other commonly reported symptoms include muscle pain, headache, and pain behind the eyes. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and case fatality is low. Travelers to these areas should monitor for symptoms or illness upon return. If they become ill, they should tell their healthcare professional where they have traveled and when.

Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC continues to recommend that pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant take the following precautions:
• Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare professional first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
• Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare professional before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been reported in patients with probable Zika virus infection in French Polynesia and Brazil. Research efforts will also examine the link between Zika and GBS.

Other Travel Warnings:
Polio: Burma, Laos, Nigeria, Madagascar, Guinea, Ukraine
Mers: Arabian Peninsula

Flu Activity
According to this week’s Fluview report, flu activity remains low across most of the country but is showing slight increases. While influenza A H3N2 viruses were most common early in the season, H1N1 viruses are now predominant. This is the same H1N1 virus that emerged in 2009 to cause a pandemic. Seasonal flu vaccines have included the H1N1 pandemic virus since 2010. Indiana has seen localized flu activity

Questions call Deb McMahan, MD

###