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New popular tourist destination added to Zika list

Another popular tourist destination has been added to the countries ‘at risk’ from the Zika virus.

The Bahamas is the latest location to be added to The Centres for Disease Control’s list of countries where transmission of the virus had been confirmed.

The Bahamas annually attracts 450,000 tourists, so the announcement of this news will most likely cause a heavy impact on the country’s tourism industry.

Zika virus is transmitted by certain mosquitoes known as Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, to humans. When transmitted to the majority of people through a mosquito bite, the NHS describe the virus as a ‘very mild infection and isn’t harmful.’ However, pregnant woman can be at serious risk, as if it is transmitted to someone pregnant, the virus can cause major birth defects to the baby. These defects can include, microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with unusually small heads.

The CDC have advised that pregnant women should put off all travel plans to the Bahamas. Women also attempting to get pregnant should speak to their GPs before travel.

Since 2015, 72 cases of the virus have been diagnosed in the UK, even though it does not occur naturally, Public Health England revealed.

They also revealed that 50 of these cases had travelled from the Caribbean, 17 had travelled from South America, and 3 were diagnosed after being bitten in Central America. The remaining 2 cases had travelled to more than two regions.

Previously to the Bahamas, which was added to the list on Tuesday night, Miami Beach in south Florida was the most recent addition to the countries named as ‘at risk.’

Although no symptoms usually show once you’ve contracted the virus, if symptoms do show, they are usually minor and tend not to last too long. These symptoms can include:

  • - Fever
  • - Headache
  • - Itchiness and rashes
  • - Muscle and joint pains
  • - Lower back pain
  • - Reddening of your eyes
  • - Pain behind your eyes

The CDC recommend that as there is no vaccination for the virus, travellers take mosquito bite prevention methods.

Methods to prevent yourself from being bitten include:

  • Using deet based repellent products
  • Wearing loose baggy clothing - Try to steer clear of skin tight clothing, as mosquitoes can often bite through them, especially if they are made of a thin material. Wearing baggier and loose-fitting clothes also allows you to keep cooler, deterring the mosquitoes, as they are often attracted to hot skin.
  • Using a mosquito net to cover you when sleeping.

In order to help stop Zika from spreading, The CDC advise travellers to use insect repellent products for up to three weeks after returning home, as well as for the duration of the trip.