The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning advising all pregnant women to avoid travel to Zika virus-infected countries. Where travel is necessary, strong precautions should be taken to avoid mosquito bites.

Birth defects and cases of microcephaly have been reported in children whose mothers have been infected with the Zika virus. Medical investigators are working to determine the full extent of the link between the Zika virus and birth defects. Common symptoms include mild fever, rashes, conjunctivitis and muscle aches.

The full list of countries which the travel warning applies to is listed at the end of this article.

Travelers going to tropical and subtropical regions have a limited risk of getting Zika. Outbreaks of Zika have occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. The Aedes species mosquitoes that spreads the Zika virus is found throughout the world, so it is likely that new outbreaks will occur. The mosquito that carries the Zika virus can bite during the day and night, both indoors and outdoors, and often lives around buildings in urban areas.

Prevention depends on control of, and protection from mosquito bites. People can prevent mosquito bites by wearing clothing that fully covers the skin, using mosquito netting while resting, and/or the application of insect repellent (DEET being the most effective).

The symptoms for Zika are similar to Dengue fever, but milder, and usually last four to seven days. Common symptoms include a maculopapular skin rash that starts on the face or trunk, before moving to the rest of the body, conjunctivitis, joint pain (mainly in the smaller joints of the hands and feet), low-grade fevers and headache.


Our advice to travelers is that pregnant women should avoid all unnecessary travel to:


  • Brazil

  • Colombia

  • El Salvador

  • French Guiana

  • Martinique

  • Guatemala

  • Haiti

  • Honduras

  • Mexico

  • Panama

  • Paraguay

  • Surinam

  • Venezuela

  • Puerto Rico