Ten Dutch sick with Zika Virus; Pregnant women told to avoid El Salvador
Ten Dutch people are infected with the Zika Virus, the virus that took over South and Central America in mid-December. The virus is generally not dangerous to adults, but can be very dangerous for unborn children, NOS reports.
All 10 Dutch people got the virus in Suriname. None of them are pregnant. The RIVM believes that more Dutch may be infected after their holidays, not everyone gets sick. The 10 infected people can not infect anyone else in the Netherlands. The Zika virus is not directly transmittable from human to human, it is spread by mosquitoes that are not in the Netherlands.
Symptoms of the Zika Virus includes fever, joint pain and a rash. In adults these symptoms usually disappear within a weak. Though it has not been scientifically proven, it seems likely that pregnant women who sustain this virus may give birth to babies with a too-small skull and not fully developed brain. This condition can lead to intellectual disabilities and young death. A massive 3,500 babies were born with this condition in Brazil last year after an outbreak of this virus.
There is no vaccine against the virus.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not changed the travel advise to central and south America. "We continually check whether the condition is changing.", a spokesperson for the ministry said to NU, adding that the Foreign Affairs Ministry does not really do health risks, but are actively referring people to the RIVM. The Belgian Foreign Ministry did adapt their travel advise to advise pregnant women not to travel to countries where the virus has been detected.
The United States public health service CDC also warns pregnant women to avoid Latin America and the Caribbean for the time being. This includes Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Suriname and Venezuela.
The Colombian government advised its female residents to postpone plans of getting pregnant for the next six to eight months if possible. El Salvador is advising women not to get pregnant for he next two years.