Pregnant Women Should Not Visit Rajasthan, India

Level 2 Travel Alert for Zika issued for India by the CDC
taj mahal in India
India (Vax Before Travel)

A new Zika virus Travel Alert has been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for certain areas of India. 

The CDC said on December 13, 2018, women who are pregnant should not travel to areas with risk of Zika. 

This is important news since a recent study found a prenatal Zika infection lead to 14.5 percent of infants reported health issues within 18 months from birth. 

The Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precaution, says Public health officials in India have reported an unusual increase in the number of confirmed Zika cases in Rajasthan and surrounding states.

According to previous reporting, Rajasthan recorded its first case of Zika virus infection after a woman tested positive in Jaipur, on September 22, 2018.   

Rajasthan is a northwestern Indian state of approximately 68 million people, bordering the country of Pakistan.

And, the CDC says Zika continues to be a risk throughout India. 

‘Given a large number of international travelers, it is critical that Zika prevention messaging, surveillance and outreach continue, especially as it pertains to women traveling while pregnant,” says the CDC. 

The Zika virus can spread through mosquito bites and from sex with an infected person. 

Many people infected with Zika virus only have mild symptoms or do not get sick.

However, infection during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects, such as microcephaly.   

The CDC suggests these prevention tactics: 

  • If you have a partner who lives in or has traveled to India or any other area with risk of Zika, either use condoms or do not have sex for the rest of the pregnancy,
  • If you have a pregnant partner, use condoms or do not have sex for the rest of the pregnancy,
  • Wait for 3 months after you return (or from the start of symptoms) if you are a man or a couple traveling together,
  • Strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during travel and for 3 weeks after your return, and,
  • Wait 2 months after you return (or from the start of symptoms) if you are a woman and your male partner does not travel.

On September 5, 2018, the CDC, World Health Organization, and the European CDC have jointly reviewed the scientific literature to update a world map which identifies areas with an active Zika virus alert.   

In the USA and its territories, the CDC reported Zika cases in Puerto Rico (114), California (23), and Florida (10), as of December 4, 2018. 

Moreover, before you or your partner travel to Zika endemic areas, talk to your healthcare provider about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection, says the CDC. 

And, make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before visiting India, which includes the MMR vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella, polio, hepatitis A, typhoid and a annual flu vaccination, says the CDC.   

To schedule a pre-trip vaccination review with a local pharmacy, please visit Vax-Before-Travel.