CDC Issues Zika Travel Warning

Posted at 9:43 PM, Aug 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-01 23:45:20-04

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned pregnant women and their partners to stay away from the Miami area.

On Monday, health officials said it's the first time the CDC has warned people to not travel to an American community. Daily flights go between Nashville International Airport and Miami International.

Travelers headed to the American tropics are greeted with warning at the start of their trip at entrance of the Nashville International Airport. It's a reality Karen Rodridguez has lived every day at home in Puerto Rico.

“The scare is there,” Rodridguez said.  “I think a lot of people are concerned about the Zika virus. I guess it's just a matter of protecting yourself.”

The danger, is those small pesky mosquitoes. Health officials said the Zika virus is spread mostly through a mosquito bite. In South Florida, 14 people were known to have the virus.

“This is the first occasion where a mosquito has gotten infected and transmitted others, and of course once they get infected they can infect mosquitoes intern,” said Vanderbilt University Medical Center Dr. William Schaffner said.

Schaffner said since mosquitos can't fly far the outbreak is contained to a Miami neighborhood. But Zika can also be transmitted sexually. Schaffner said the women's body clears the virus in a week or so. However, men are known to carry it for a couple months. When it comes to travel to the Miami area, Schaffner said, listen to the warnings.

“If you are planning a trip to Miami make sure that you use an awful lot of insect repellant from the moment that you land,” Schaffner said. “If you are pregnant I think you ought to heed CDC’s travel advisory, reconsider that trip right now.”

Zika can cause severe birth defects. Currently, there is no vaccine for the virus. Last month the Zika hit Nashville. Two residents tested positive after returning home from Honduras.