Antigua and Barbuda has been listed amongst some of a number of Caribbean countries which US travelers should take precautions while visiting or in some instance, avoid because of the Zika Virus.
The Level 2 travel alert was issued to the country by the U.S Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after news broke of the first locally transmitted ZIKA Virus in Antigua.
Reports are that Chief Medical Officer Rhonda Sealey Thomas confirmed the reports three weeks ago after laboratory results tested positive with the vector disease.
A Level 2 Alert means that travelers should practice enhanced precautions if traveling to the twin island state.
The CDC went a step further by advising pregnant women and those trying to conceive, to avoid traveling to Antigua unless it is necessary. They said that if those women have no other choice they must first consult with their doctors strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
The health agency further advised US travelers that after travel precautions should be taken to avoid an outbreak of the virus.
“If a mosquito bites an infected person while the virus is still in that person’s blood, it can spread the virus by biting another person. Even if they do not feel sick, travelers returning to the United States from Antigua and Barbuda should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks so that they do not spread Zika to uninfected mosquitoes,” the CDC said.
The Zika virus is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes Egypti mosquito. It can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus causing a number of birth defects upon infection.
There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Meantime, Chief Medical Officer Rhonda Sealey-Thomas has urged residents to be vigilant to prevent the further spread of the virus.
“The thing is even before we had the first confirmed case, we knew that the Aedes Egypti mosquito is present in Antigua and Barbuda so person need to be vigilant, prevent themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes and assist the Ministry of Health in reducing the mosquito population.”