The Zika virus, which has only recently started making headlines, poses a hazard in more countries than the CDC originally suspected. Travel warnings have been extended to several more countries including Barbados, Bolivia, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Cape Verde, Samoa and Saint Martin because of the possibility of Zika virus exposure.
Pregnant Women Are Warned Away from Areas with Zika Virus Exposure:
The CDC has recommended that pregnant women avoid traveling to the Caribbean and Latin American Countries where mosquitoes carry this virus. That’s because infants exposed in utero may be born with unusually small heads and brain damage. Brazil has been especially hard hit, with nearly 4,000 babies born with microcephaly.
In adults, many people may not know they have been infected because symptoms are mild and non-specific. There is suspicion, however, that some individuals may develop a neurological condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome after Zika virus exposure. This can lead to loss of sensation and ultimately paralysis.
Because the Zika virus appears to have an affinity for the nervous system, some experts worry that it may be causing more subtle birth defects in addition to microcephaly. Difficulties with vision or hearing might be harder to pick up or link to Zika virus exposure.