Zika Virus Infection:
Zika virus is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, but it can also be transmitted sexually. Since May of 2015, this disease has spread to some parts of Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Risk of microcephaly in a newborn if a woman is infected in the first trimester of pregnancy has been estimated at 1% to 13%. Pregnant women should avoid travel to areas with Zika transmission. Men who live in or visit a Zika-endemic area should use a condom or abstain from sex with a pregnant partner for the remainder of the pregnancy. Pregnant women and women of childbearing age who are trying to conceive should postpone travel to Zika-endemic areas. If they do visit these areas, they should be vigilant about arthropod avoidance measures. Men and women (whether they are trying to conceive or not) living in areas with no active transmission of Zika virus, but returning from active transmission areas, should abstain from sex or practice safer sex for a period of at least 6 months upon return. These recommendations apply to both symptomatic and asymptomatic persons.
Traveler’s Diarrhea (TD):
Protect yourself: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
TD is a very common problem among international travelers with rates ranging from 30-70% depending on destination and season of travel. Taking medications that reduce gastric acidity such as proton pump inhibitors and antacids significantly increases the risk as does younger age, diabetes, and immunosuppression.
80-90% of TD is bacterial in origin. Other cases are viral or protozoal. Bacterial and viral TD usually present as a sudden onset of loose stools, cramping, and nausea. Other symptoms may include abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, and blood stools. Protozoal infections, such as Giardia tend to have slower onset and milder disease with a longer duration.
Your travel medicine provider can prescribe preventive medications and/or prescribe treatment based on your individual risk.