The Zika virus is putting a damper on everyone’s travel plans as the US’ Center for Disease Control continues to expand its non-essential travel notices for more than two dozen Caribbean countries.
St Vincent is now among a list of 27 countries where women who are pregnant are especially being warned to avoid, as well as the following countries:
- French Guiana
- Trinidad & Tobago
- Saint Lucia
- Turks & Caicos
- Saint Martin
- Sint Maarten
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- Antigua & Barbuda
- St. Barts
- St. Eustacius
Travelers are also encouraged to protect themselves from mosquito bites; use mosquito repellants with DEET and use condoms if engaging in sexual activity or not have sex if travelling to the islands as there is no vaccine currently for the disease and Zika can be transmitted by sex.
Many people infected with the Zika virus do not get sick but among those who do develop symptoms, the sickness is usually mild, with symptoms that last for several days to a week.
The Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare disorder that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis for a few weeks to several months. Current CDC research suggests that GBS is strongly associated with Zika but only a small proportion of people with recent Zika virus infection get GBS. Most people fully recover from GBS, but some have permanent damage.