zikaSince the first case of Zika was detected in Belize earlier in the year it has been spreading throughout the country putting locals and potential visitors on high alert. So far there have been 10 confirmed cases of Zika in Caye Caulker alone and several others in the Belize and Cayo districts, which has prompted the CDC, the US and several other countries to issue travel advisories to the jewel.

Recently added to the list is the Canadian Government who updated its travel advisory yesterday to include nine CARICOM nations including Belize.

The Canadian government is urging all its citizens traveling to the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago, to exercise a high degree of caution due to the presence of Zika in these nations.

The advisory warns that pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy should avoid traveling to these countries on a whole since the Zika virus has been linked to Microcephaly, which is a condition which stuns a fetus’ brain development. In addition, the Zika virus can be sexually transmitted and the virus can persist for an extended period of time in the semen of infected males.

Symptoms of Zika virus can include fever, headache, conjunctivitis and skin rash, along with joint and muscle pain. The illness is typically mild and lasts only a few days and the majority of those infected do not have symptoms. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against the Zika virus infection although trials are underway.

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