Recently, health officials confirmed that the Zika virus is being actively transmitted by mosquitoes in Miami Beach, Florida. That’s the latest destination in a list of popular U.S. vacation spots—greater South Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands—that have recently reported transmissions of the virus.
Experts are learning new information about the Zika virus every day, and the CDC is sharing that information online at cdc.gov/zika. There you can find up-to-date details on transmission, risk factors, mosquito control, as well as geographic listings and a map of where cases have been reported.
As we’ve stated here before at WendyPerrin.com, travelers who are thinking about pregnancy (along with those who are already pregnant) should not visit destinations where the virus is spreading. The illness has been reported in both men and women, and is known to be transmitted by mosquito bites, sex, blood transfusions, and from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
But as I’ve also stated, the rest of us should not let panic determine our travel decisions. The truth is that mosquitoes have been carrying nasty diseases for centuries: dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever. And nearly every country has mosquitoes. If we were to stop traveling to places with disease-carrying mosquitoes, we’d have to stop seeing most of the world and build a bubble around our own backyards. What’s more, as I explained to journalist Scott Mayerowitz in his recent article for AP News, “the rest of us should be careful not to focus so much on avoiding Zika that we choose a destination that puts our health at greater risk, whether from mosquitoes carrying other diseases or from another cause such as tainted water.”
It’s always important—not just in Zika-affected countries, but everywhere there are mosquitoes—to protect yourself. Here’s how my family and I did it in the rainforest along the Panama Canal. (While Panama is a Zika-affected country, we did not see or feel any mosquitoes during our time there.)
Transparency disclosure: Our sponsor, MedjetAssist, provided the financial support that made it possible to bring you these travel tips.