Travel alert issued for Zika virus

Flyover bridge connecting Bluffton, Hilton Head nearing completion

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Center for Disease Control is issuing a travel alert to areas where the Zika virus continues to spread.

They are warning folks, especially pregnant women, about the possible health risks. That travel alert includes all of the places where the virus can be contracted from mosquitoes, including Mexico, the Caribbean and South and Central Americas.

So far experts do not believe it is being transmitted in the U.S. but some folks are being treated after traveling to these areas.

Officials at Memorial Health believe it's only a matter of time before the infected mosquitoes are in our backyard. So far, health officials here haven't seen anyone with symptoms related to the Zika virus but they are keeping a close watch and they are asking folks to take the proper precautions.

Memorial Health's Director of Infection and Prevention Control says while there is growing concern about this virus, the threat is not as severe as it has been with other pandemics because it's not a deadly virus.

The major health concern involves pregnant women because it can cause birth defects, but there's no evidence of lasting effects in adults. In fact only one in five people who get the virus may actually show symptoms which include fever, rash, joint pain and red eye.

It's only a matter of time before the mosquitoes make their way here, especially since we are a port city with vessels that travel the infected area. And while there is no cure or vaccine, experts say we can prevent it.

"Mosquito repellent, just to protect themselves with mosquito repellent, that is the primary means of insuring that you won't be exposed. You won't have a bite that will end up making you sick," said Memorial's Director of Infection and Prevention Control Danny McBride.

For more information on the Zika virus, please click here.

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