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Zika Virus – A Travel Alert but NOT for Costa Rica… Yet!

January 19th, 2016

ta2I am getting a ton of email asking about the Zika Virus.  In fact… so many emails that I felt I needed to post the hot skinny on this disease.

Most important is the Zika has not yet arrived in Costa Rica.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that it is now in about 19 other countries, and I know that a lot of folks visiting Costa Rica have travel plans that will take them to one of these other countries.

The next important thing is that Zika has very few symptoms, BUT can have devastating affects to the unborn children of pregnant women who contract this disease in any other other other countries.  Babies are born with very small skulls and apparently some brain damage.

If this topic is of interest to you… read on!

Here are some factoids!

It causes symptoms but they are pretty painless (unlike Dengue and Chikungunya)

  1. Like Dengue and Chikungunya, it is spread by mosquitoes.
  2. There is no treatment or vaccine and
  3. There is growing evidence that this virus affects the unborn children of pregnant women.

The US State Department confirmed its first case of a baby born with brain damage because of infection by the Zika virus.  The baby was born in a hospital in Oahu, Hawaii and the Hawaii State Department of Health said the mother was believed to have contracted Zika while living in Brazil in May 2015 and that the baby was most likely infected in the womb.

The US Center for Disease Control has already issued an alert advising pregnant women to avoid travelling to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where outbreaks of Zika have been registered.These include Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

Panama is just down the road from Costa Rica

Clearly, Zika is a danger to pregnant women, and while there have been no known cases in Costa Rica, I had to cover this in my Blog as a precaution. Probably best to delay travel plans if you are expecting.  Costa Rica will still be here after your baby arrives safely!

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