The Zika virus is not only spreading across the Americas — it has reached the South Pacific, also, and Fiji is the latest country to report the virus locally.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added Fiji on Monday to its list of countries that pregnant women should avoid because mosquitoes there are carrying the virus.
“Travelers to areas with cases of Zika virus infection are at risk of being infected with the Zika virus,” the CDC said in its notice.
“Mosquitoes that spread Zika are aggressive daytime biters. They also bite at night. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika virus. The best way to avoid Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites.”
U.S. travelers have brought Zika home with them and the CDC’s documented several cases of sexual transmission of the virus. In areas where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes circulate, such as Florida and South Texas, small outbreaks of Zika are likely, the CDC said.
But most experts think air conditioning and window screens will keep the virus from spreading explosively in the U.S. in the same way it has in Brazil and Central America.
“To help stop the spread of Zika, travelers should use insect repellent for three weeks after travel to prevent mosquito bites,” the CDC advised.
“People who do have symptoms have reported fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes,” the CDC said.
CDC advises Zika patients to take acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain. “Do not take aspirin, products containing aspirin, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen,” CDC advises. That’s because Zika is a close relative of dengue virus, and people infected with dengue who take aspirin or other NSAIDs can hemorrhage.
“Travelers to areas with Zika should monitor for symptoms or sickness upon return. If they become sick, they should tell their healthcare professional when and where they have traveled.”
Pregnant women whose male partner has traveled to a Zika-affected area should use condoms for the entire pregnancy, CDC advises.