Travelers unfazed after CDC's Zika travel advisory for part of Miami

Travelers unfazed after CDC's Zika travel advisory for part of Miami

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Most travelers leaving New Orleans for Miami were not overly concerned about the potential risk of contracting Zika, even after health experts issued an advisory for part of South Florida.

"I think we'll be alright. I don't think it should be too much of a problem," traveler Omar Ablouga said. "I think I'm going to be swimming in mosquito repellent before I get out there."

"We already booked our ticket so we'll see what happens," traveler Leila Delati said.

On Monday, for the first time in its history, the CDC issued a travel advisory for the continental U.S. due to concerns about an infectious disease after 14 people in that area contracted the Zika virus from mosquitoes. Health experts urge women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant to avoid one square-mile section of Miami.

The CDC travel advisory includes anyone who has traveled to the area since June 15 because the virus' incubation period can be as long as two weeks after contracting Zika.

"It's a little bit on the scary side just from what we've seen from the babies that have been born from women who've been infected with this virus. But as long as people use good judgment and plenty of mosquito repellent, they should be fine," Metairie obstetrician Dr. Samuel Alexander said.

Alexander could not recall another virus that is spread through mosquitoes as well as sexually. Health experts recently discovered the virus is more commonly spread sexually than once believed.

The CDC suggests women with Zika should wait at least eight weeks and men with Zika should wait at least six months after symptoms begin before trying to get pregnant.

Alexander warns that the virus is especially dangerous because it can potentially cause microcephaly in any stage of a pregnancy.

"Often times when we see birth defects in babies, it will be as a result of something that is occurring during the first period of the first trimester of a pregnancy where the organs are developing. This virus can affect during the entire pregnancy, and that's the other thing that's worrisome for us," Alexander said.  
Alexander said at this time he would not restrict a pregnant woman under his care from traveling to South Florida, but only if she takes the proper steps to protect herself from Zika. However, he said he would urge his patients who are pregnant to stay away from South America because of the virus.

Health experts say they are working on a Zika vaccine, but it will not be ready for distribution until 2018 at the earliest.

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