The Cayman Islands Public Health Department is joining a growing chorus of countries cautioning about the spread of the Zika virus and the fetal brain damage it can cause.
Cayman’s travel advisory suggests all residents avoid non-essential travel to the 18 countries that have been affected by the mosquito-borne virus.
The Zika virus does very little to most people beyond a mild fever, rash and muscle pain. But its impact on fetuses is causing alarm, especially in Brazil which is reporting a high number of birth defects. Some pregnant women who are bitten by infected mosquitoes have given birth to babies suffering from microcephaly.
Dr. David Stone, an obstetrician-gynecologist with TrinCay, describes this as “a condition where the baby’s head is smaller in size, and we do see in some cases of microcephaly an association with developmental delay.”
Dr. Stone notes that not every pregnant woman bitten by infected mosquitoes will have babies with brain damage, but anyone with questions or concerns should contact their doctor for more information.
The travel advisory involves the countries of: Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, St. Martin, Suriname, and Venezuela. Since the advisory’s release, officials in Bolivia confirmed their country’s first infection.