Zika virus has spread rapidly in Colombia

As of mid-December, 34 of Colombia's 36 departments have reported more than 100 suspected or confirmed cases of Zika virus infection for a total of 6,840 infected people nationwide. The most affected departments include Antioquia, Atlantico, Bolivar, Cesar, Cundinamarca, Huila, Magdalena, Norte de Santander, San Andres, Sucre, and Tolima.

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Advice For Travellers

Although the number of cases in most departments is relatively small (approximately several hundred), the transmission of this virus is increasing. While the risk for the general traveller remains low at this time, travellers should try to minimize the risk by taking all necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Since infection with this virus usually causes a rather mild illness similar to flu, there may be many cases in the community that do not seek medical attention and are not reported to health authorities. Until the association between infection with this virus and the increase in cases of microcephaly (small brain) in newborns in Brazil is clarified, women who are in the first trimester of pregnancy should take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites.