Many Central and South American countries are included.

By John Scarpinato
January 19, 2016
Zika Virus
Credit: AFP/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially issued a travel alert for people heading to many Central and South American countries. The alert, a level 2, is in response to reports out of Brazil about birth defects and miscarriages in babies of women infected with the Zika virus while pregnant. The virus, which often goes undetected, is transferred by mosquito bite and often does not require hospitalization. Currently, there is neither a vaccine to prevent the virus nor a medication to treat it.

Below are the countries where Zika virus transmission is prevalent:

  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela
  • Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant are advised to postpone travel to these countries. When travel is essential, women should take every precaution to prevent mosquito bites during their trip.

Update: The CDC added the following countries to its travel alert on January 22: Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde, and Samoa.