(WWLP) – Some popular travel destinations are among the places that the Centers for Disease Control are telling pregnant women to avoid, as the Zika virus continues to spread.
The virus is spread through mosquito bites, and can cause fever, rash, and joint pain. While severe cases are rare, the disease has been known to cause a severe birth defect known as microcephaly if a pregnant woman becomes infected. Microcephaly is a condition in which a baby’s head is much smaller than normal, leading to the development of a smaller brain.
The CDC lists 22 locations where Zika has been found, including some very popular vacation spots: Puerto Rico, Mexico, Saint Martin, Barbados, and Brazil. Most locations are in the Caribbean and Latin America, however the disease has also been found in the South Pacific (Samoa) and off the African coast (Cape Verde).
The CDC recommends pregnant women in all trimesters avoid traveling to these countries and territories if possible, but if they must go, they should see a doctor first, and take special precautions to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
Here is a complete listing of countries and territories under the travel advisory:
- Cape Verde
- El Salvador
- French Guiana
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Martin