Alert – Zika Virus in Papua New Guinea

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.*

* The categories shown on this map are intended as a general guideline and should not be considered to indicate absolute risk. Elevation may vary within an area to a larger extent than this map can depict. The presence of mosquitoes may change seasonally, with increasing temperatures or rainfall, and may change over time. Travelers to destinations that cross or are near an elevation border may wish to consider the destination as an area of lower elevation. Travelers to high elevations are still at risk of getting Zika from sex.



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