Skip to main content

Summer travelers beware of the Zika virus

Written By | Jun 21, 2016

SAN DIEGO, June 21, 2016 — It’s officially summer, and now is the time to choose which vacation spots would make for the most fun and interesting trips.

However, popular travel destinations such as Africa, Asia, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Latin America, Mexico and the Gulf states in the United States can be some of the riskiest areas to visit when it comes to potential to contract the Zika virus.

Transmission electron microscope image of Zika virus (in red), Photo courtesy NIAID - Zika Virus, CC BY 2.0

Transmission electron microscope image of Zika virus (in red), Photo courtesy NIAID – Zika Virus, CC BY 2.0

Found in many tropical regions worldwide that  have warm climates and are at lower levels of elevation, the Aedes aegypti mosquito carries the Zika virus.

The virus itself is located in the bile of the Aedes mosquito.

The mosquitoes can also travel to other areas by attaching to the clothing or luggage of unsuspecting travelers from countries known to have the carrier mosquitoes.

Infection can occur by direct contact with the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.

Zika can cause birth defects in women who are pregnant. Zika can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects.

According to the World Health Organization, once infected, symptoms might last 2-7 days and resemble those of the flu virus, which includes fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle and joint pain, headache and malaise.

It is critical that those who become ill and suspect infection with the Zika virus seek immediate medical attention to confirm a diagnosis.

The presence of a Zika infection will be medically determined by blood tests and testing of other bodily fluids.

There is no known cure for the Zika virus.

With no known specific treatments, the WHO recommends getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids and treating pain and fever with over-the-counter medication, unless a medical professional makes other recommendations.

Summertime favorite: Seared salmon with sweet potatoes

To prevent contracting the Zika virus, it is recommended to wear clothing which completely covers the skin; and also to use a topical mosquito repellent that contains lemon eucalyptus or DEET (be aware of any known allergies).

Choosing a travel destination that is known to be at low risk for contracting the Zika virus could be a good idea for traveling vacationers this summer.

It can also be a great way to stay healthy while enjoying the benefits of exploring new surroundings, stress free, this summer.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 32 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2016 by At Your Home Familycare


Laurie Edwards-Tate

Since 1984, Laurie Edwards-Tate has served as President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare, a non-medical Home Care Aide Organization, serving seniors, disabled, infirm and children. Laurie is Board of Director 2018 (elected), Palomar Health; Executive Board Member; Chair Board Human Resources Committee; Member of Audits & Compliance Committee; Community Relations Committee.