US issues Zika special travel for 11 Southeast Asian countries

Washington, The US government on Thursday issued Zika virus-related special travel considerations for Southeast Asia, recommending pregnant women should consider postponing non-essential travel to 11 countries in this region.

The countries included in these considerations are Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam, Xinhua reported.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement that people could face an “uncertain risk” of Zika virus infection when they travel to these countries.

The US CDC said that Zika virus has been present in areas of Southeast Asia for many years and that several countries have reported occasional cases or small outbreaks.

“Recent variations in the number of cases reported in the area have been observed. Zika virus is considered endemic in some of these countries and many people who live there are likely immune, ” it said.

“But U.S. travelers to areas where Zika is endemic may not be immune to the virus and infections have occurred in travelers to Southeast Asia.”

It noted that the level of risk for Zika virus infection in these countries is unknown, but it is likely lower, but not zero, than in areas where Zika is newly introduced and spreading widely.

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