Travel to South America and the Zika Virus: Should You Be Concerned?

As the furore surrounding the Ebola Virus begins to die down, tourism is slowly but surely returning to Africa, and travellers are becoming more confident about visiting exotic destinations such as Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Travelling South America

However, things are not looking quite so good in South America, where the new virus Zika, spread by the Aedes (yellow fever) Mosquito, has been declared as a “public health emergency of international concern” by the World Health Organisation (WHO), as it is linked to microcephaly, a congenital condition in which babies are born with underdeveloped brains.

Though not yet scientifically proven, experts believe that there is a strong link between the Zika virus and microcephaly, and so the WHO has put Zika in the same category as Ebola to ensure that international efforts are made and fast-tracked to tackle the spread of the infection, and protect pregnant women and their babies, who are most at risk.

Since October 2015, over 4,000 cases of microcephaly have been reported in Brazil, and the virus is now said to be prevalent in Brazil, Bolivia, northern Paraguay, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Central America, and many of the Caribbean islands.

As all of the above listed countries are popular destinations for international travellers, warnings have been put in place, although at this stage, only pregnant women (or women who are planning pregnancy) are advised from travelling to those countries on the Zika outbreak list, and both Public Heath England and the National Travel Health Network are closely monitoring the situation.

All other travellers are advised to take necessary precautions to prevent bites and possible infection, and follow the Foreign office website for the latest updates and information on each destination.

Would the Zika outbreak put you off travelling to South America?  Drop us a line and let us know what you think!






One Comment Add yours

  1. Nicci says:

    Probably not as it only seems to affect pregnancy.

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