The Mosquito-borne Zika virus has become increasingly a topic of travel concern. Travelers in Latin America and the Caribbean are advised to take extra precautions against the virus. It can cause microcephaly. Microcephaly is a serious birth defect that causes babies to have abnormally small heads and brain damage. Researchers don’t yet know the rate at which infected women have babies with birth defects.
The virus is mainly spread to humans through infected mosquitoes. It can also be sexually transmitted through semen. There is no vaccine or specific treatment available for Zika virus.
What is the current situation?
Local mosquito transmission of Zika virus infection (Zika) has been reported in Papua New Guinea. Local mosquito transmission means that mosquitoes in the area are infected with Zika virus and are spreading it to people.
Because Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, CDC recommends that travelers to Papua New Guinea protect themselves from mosquito bites. The mosquitoes that spread Zika usually do not live at elevations above 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) because of environmental conditions. Travelers whose itineraries are limited to areas above this elevation are at minimal risk of getting Zika from a mosquito. The following map shows areas of Papua New Guinea above and below 6,500 feet.*