How Meghan Markle Is Avoiding Zika Risk During Her Trip to Fiji (Video)
The couple’s stops in Fiji and Tonga has raised concerns over the Zika virus, which has been detected in both countries, after Meghan’s pregnancy was announced at the start of the tour.
But Harry and Meghan remained steadfast in their tour schedule, announcing that they sought medical advice about the virus, which can cause serious birth defects, including microcephaly, and would not be making any changes to their travel plans.
It seems the pregnant royal is already taking precautions upon arrival in Fiji. Adhering to general recommendations by medical professionals, Meghan arrived at the airport in a long-sleeved white dress after wearing several sleeveless dresses in Sydney.
Professor James G. Logan, Head of the Department of Disease Control at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, tells PEOPLE: “I’m sure that they will have sought travel health advice in terms of protective methods in terms of mosquito bites. There is a lot you can do to minimize risks.”
“Wearing long sleeves and baggy clothes will help,” he adds. “Mosquitos can even bite through jeans so if the clothing is loose it’s much harder for the mosquito to bite. Wearing light-colored clothing can help as these mosquitos are often attracted to dark clothing. It also helps you spot them, if you see a dark mosquito on a light piece of clothing.
“Generally the risk is low but, there is still a risk and you need to weigh up how to protect yourself and make sure you are fully informed.”
Fiji and Tonga have been classified by both the CDC and WHO as “areas with risk of Zika infection,” and recommend pregnant people should not travel to areas with risk of Zika.
WHO classified Tonga in March as a “Category 1” risk, an “area with new introduction or re-introduction with ongoing transmission” of the Zika virus; and Fiji as a “Category 2”, an area “either with evidence of virus circulation before 2015 or area with ongoing transmission.”
“The advice would be to wear a repellent which contains an active ingredient and wear that repellent all day and all evening,” Logan adds. “You have to put the repellent on like a hand cream. You have to really rub it in. If you squirt it on like a perfume, that won’t do anything because the mosquito will find a bit that’s not covered. A spray or a lotion is fine but really rub it in and reapply it often. There are four active ingredients, one of the main ones is DEET and it’s safe to use that during pregnancy.”
Meghan, who is currently staying at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Fiji with Harry, will also avoid traveling into local rainforests during her visit to avoid the risk of mosquitos. (The palace previously announced she’d be cutting back on her busy tour schedule to rest.)
On Wednesday, Harry will travel solo into Colo-i-Suva, an indigenous forest, while Meghan has morning tea at the British High Commissioner’s Residence.
Since touching down Down Under, Meghan and Harry have kept a full calendar at a busy pace, opening the Anzac Memorial for fallen veterans, opening the Anzac Memorial for fallen veterans, opening the Invictus Games, stepping out on Bondi Beach and even receiving their “first baby gift.”
After her pregnancy announcement, a royal source told PEOPLE Meghan had had her 12-week ultrasound and was “feeling well.”