Traveling To Southeast Asia? Here's What You Need To Know About Zika Virus
The Zika virus epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean has infected potentially millions of people and is pegged as the cause of congenital Zika syndrome, a birth defect affecting thousands of children in the region. It can cause brain damage, seizures, deafness, blindness and other neurological and physiological problems. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued travel advisories for 59 countries and territories throughout the world, including neighborhoods in Miami where the Zika virus continues to spread locally. Most of these areas are in Latin America and the Caribbean, while eight are in the Pacific Islands and there’s one each in Africa and Asia. But travelers also have to be aware about the risks in a completely different region: Southeast Asia. People flying to certain Southeast Asian countries should know that Zika virus is also present there in low numbers, and that some travelers have returned from these countries with an infection. These countries ― Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor) and Vietnam ― have what is called an endemic level of Zika virus, the term for when a disease has been present in a region for so many years that a large number of the population is suspected to be immune to it. Visitors, on the other hand, may still be vulnerable because they have no prior exposure to the disease and have no immunity to it. ...
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