Zika and Travel


If you have questions about Zika and travel, contact MotherToBaby by phone, email or live chat (see options above). Click on the flier image to see, share and download our Zika Travel Flier.

 

The interactive world map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses colors to show different levels of Zika risk: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/world-map-areas-with-zika

  • Travelers to red areas are at risk of Zika infection.
  • Travelers to purple areas might be at risk of Zika infection.
    • (Travelers staying in the higher-elevation sub-category of light purple are at very low risk.)
  • Travelers to yellow areas are at low risk of Zika infection.
  • Travelers to green areas are not at risk of Zika infection.
  • Travel and Pregnancy
    • Pregnant women and their partners should avoid all unnecessary travel to red areas.
    • Pregnant women and their partners can talk to their health care providers to make decisions about traveling to purple areas. If they decide to travel to purple areas, they should take steps to minimize risk, including using insect repellent and considering the use of condoms for the rest of the pregnancy.
    • Pregnant women and their partners should take steps to avoid mosquito bites in yellow areas.
    • There are no Zika-related precautions for green areas.

 

  • Travel and Planning Pregnancy
    • Women who travel to red areas should wait at least 2 months and men should wait at least 3 months before trying to get pregnant, having only protected sex during that time.
    • Couples planning pregnancy can talk to their health care providers to make decisions about traveling to purple areas. If they decide to travel to purple areas, they should take steps to minimize risk, including using insect repellent and considering following the previously recommended wait times before trying to get pregnant (2 months for women, 3 months for men).
    • Couples planning pregnancy should take steps to avoid mosquito bites in yellow areas.
    • There are no Zika-related precautions for green areas.

 

  • Travel and Not Planning Pregnancy
    • Couples and individuals who are not pregnant or planning pregnancy should still take steps to avoid mosquito bites during travel.
    • Many pregnancies are not planned. It is important to actively avoid pregnancy for at least 2 months (for women) or at least 3 months (for men) after traveling to red areas, and to consider actively avoiding pregnancy for this amount of time after travel to purple areas.

 

Common Questions about Zika and Travel

  • I’m pregnant. Is it okay to go on a cruise to a purple or red area if I use insect repellent and stay on the ship the whole time?

Using insect repellent will reduce the risk of mosquito bites, but using repellent and/or staying on the ship does not guarantee you will not be bitten. Pregnant women and their partners should carefully consider the risks and consequences of Zika infection in pregnancy when planning a cruise. Choosing a destination that is yellow or green on the CDC map will minimize or eliminate the chance of getting Zika from a mosquito bite.

 

  • What is the risk if I travel to a purple area but I stay at high elevations?

The mosquitos that can carry Zika do not usually live at elevations above 6,500 feet (2,000 meters), which are shown in light purple on the CDC map.  Travelers who never go below this elevation have much less chance of getting Zika from a mosquito.  However, be aware that the areas where mosquitoes are found can change with the seasons and with increasing temperatures and rainfall.  Travelers should also consider the elevation of all places on their travel itinerary, including airports and other stops.

 

  • My wife is pregnant. I traveled to a purple or red area but I don’t have symptoms of Zika. Should we still use condoms?

Only about 1 out of every 5 people infected with Zika will have symptoms.  It is possible that you could have Zika even if you don’t have symptoms.  Having protected sex, or not having sex, for the rest of the pregnancy is the best way to minimize risk to the pregnancy.

 

  • I am a man who traveled to a purple or red area but I don’t have symptoms of Zika. Can I just get tested and then not worry about it?

Zika testing is not recommended for men who do not have symptoms, because there is no way to test the semen for Zika at this time.  The Zika virus can stay in semen for longer than in blood or urine.  So a blood or urine test might come back negative, but you could still have the virus in the semen.

Men who travel to an area with a risk of Zika can minimize risk to a future pregnancy by waiting at least 3 months after travel before trying to conceive, and having only protected sex during that wait time.  If their partner is pregnant, they can minimize risk to the pregnancy by having only protected sex, or not having sex, for the rest of the pregnancy.