US health officials have updated their Zika Virus alert for Southeast Asia
US health officials have updated their Zika Virus alert for Southeast Asia by advising pregnant women to avoid traveling to 11 countries because of concerns over outbreaks of the Zika virus in the region.
Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are on the list and part of the warning issued on 29 September.
The update to the alert status was issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention because of reports that a number of U.S. travelers to the region have been affected by the virus over the past year.
This following article was originally posted as: Zika Virus information for people thinking of traveling to Bali.
The Zika Virus is only known to be spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which is found in South East Asia, Africa, North America, Northern Australia (Queensland and Cains) and which is most prevalent in South America.
The Mosquito is medium sized, black and it has a silvery white lyre-shape on it’s scutum or shield. The mosquito can also be recognized by the banded white stripes on it’s legs.
Anyone holidaying in Bali should take due care but it is currently advised by the Australian government that women who are pregnant refrain from travel to the holiday island.
Traveler’s to Bali should check that hotel rooms are not located close to stagnant water containers disused ponds or drains that could hold mosquito lava.
People staying in hotel rooms and villa’s in Bali should spray dark and moist area’s, under beds and behind drapes and cupboards with a mosquito spray that contains DEET. It is also recommended tourists use a western style repellent and avoid spending prolonged periods outside at night.
Although more commonly spread by mosquitoes travelers should also be advised that last year an Australian tourist was diagnosed with acute Zika Virus after he was bitten by a monkey at the Ubud Monkey Forest.
The Zika infection or virus has been linked to a rare birth defect called microcephaly in pregnant women.
When the child is born the newborn’s head is smaller than normal and it is believed the brain may not have developed properly. Several experiments have now shown that the virus can cross the placenta and attack fetal nerve cells including some that develop into the brain.
Medical workers and scientists investigating the virus have also noticed an increase in reports of a nerve condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome that can cause paralysis.
Most people infected with Zika Virus do not show any symptoms and only one in five are disabled by the sickness, but in some cases the infection can cause fever, rash, severe headache, joint pain, and muscle borne pain.
Illness from the Zika Virus is usually not severe and does not require hospitalization and so detection-warning and other preventive measures by health authorities remain difficult.
Further evidence suggests that in rare circumstances the virus can be spread through sexual transmission. Recently cases have surfaced where the virus has been transmitted by males who have visited infected regions to females who have not, however cases of reverse transmission remain undocumented.
As yet there is no specific treatment for the Zika Virus but the majority of medical professionals recommend plenty of fluids and rest. It is also important to note that in most developing countries the specific test for Zika Virus are not easily available.
The Australian Government website Smart Traveler has recently updated information on the virus.
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