How Will the Zika Virus Affect Spring Break?

You’ve braved through a snow-filled winter with your sights set on a spring break getaway at the end of the frigid tunnel – but there’s one problem: the Zika virus.

You’ve braved through a snow-filled winter with your sights set on a spring break getaway at the end of the frigid tunnel — but there’s one problem: the Zika virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a list of destinations to steer clear of (if you’re pregnant), or to just take extra caution when visiting (for the general public). As of March 21, the travel alert archive includes 38 countries and regions, with Cuba being the most recent addition.

If you’re planning to relax in one of these 16 Caribbean countries over spring break, be aware that there have been confirmed cases of local Zika transmission:

  • Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, and US Virgin Islands

Six countries in Central America are also on the Zika list:

  • Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama

If you’re headed even farther south, nine South American countries have ongoing transmission as well:

  • Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, and Venezuela

Additional countries include Mexico, Cape Verde, and five in the Pacific Islands — American Samoa, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Samoa, and Tonga.

  • Related: WHO Alert Declares Zika Virus a Public Health Emergency

If your vacation is already booked, don’t run to your travel agent just yet. While it is advised that pregnant women avoid these areas altogether due to its link to microcephaly, the CDC advises other travelers to practice enhance precautions. Without a vaccine or specific treatment, the best form of prevention comes from avoiding bug bites, using insect repellent, and wearing protective clothing.

The CDC will work with the White House to launch the Zika Action Summit on April 1 in Atlanta, Georgia. The aim is to expand Zika knowledge and provide the tools needed to prepare for the anticipated outbreak.

Also on MD Magazine >>> Pope Francis on Zika: “Avoiding Pregnancy Is Not an Absolute Evil”