CDC issues travel alert for St. Kitts and Nevis amid Zika scare

Taipei, Sept. 23 (CNA) Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a travel alert for St. Kitts and Nevis Friday, based on the latest updates on recent transmissions of the Zika virus there provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier this week. The Sept. 22 WHO weekly Zika situation report for the first time added St. Kitts and Nevis to countries and territories reporting mosquito-borne Zika virus infections.

As a result, the CDC issued a Level 2 alert for the Zika virus for the Caribbean country, with pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant at particular risk.

Under the CDC's three-tier system, a Level 1 travel warning urges vigilance and health precautions, while Level 2 calls for a high degree of caution and strong protective measures, and Level 3 advises against travel to or from a specified destination.

The agency said that at least 70 countries, areas and territories worldwide, primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean, have reported local outbreaks of Zika.

The CDC has issued level 2 alerts for Zika virus for 61 countries and areas with ongoing outbreaks or possible local transmissions of the virus, including Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, as well as Broward, Miami-Dade, Pinellas and Palm Beach counties in Florida.

If visits to affected areas are necessary, the CDC said, travelers are advised to follow people returning from Zika-affected areas are advised to follow the "1+6 Principle."

The principle specifies that people who have recently traveled to Zika-affected areas should monitor their own health for at least two weeks, postpone blood donation for at least 1 month and regardless whether they develop suspected Zika symptoms; they should practice safe sex for at least 6 months to prevent Zika transmission and female travelers should postpone pregnancy for at least 6 months.

According to the CDC, there have been eight confirmed Zika virus infection cases this year, among which, two were from Thailand, and one each from Indonesia, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Florida, Singapore and Vietnam. No indigenous cases have been reported. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)