Whatcom Weddings

New checklist items for honeymooners: Zika, terrorists, violence

This photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is spreading the Zika virus. Couples planning a honeymoon to a Zika area should check ahead about health alerts and vaccination or medication requirements.
This photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is spreading the Zika virus. Couples planning a honeymoon to a Zika area should check ahead about health alerts and vaccination or medication requirements. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Newlyweds want to return from their honeymoon with fond memories and plenty of photos – not a grave illness, a higher risk of birth defects or the nightmarish memory of a terrorist attack.

Alas, disease and violence can crop up almost anywhere – including destinations popular among honeymooners for their warm beaches, spectacular scenery, historic landmarks, and chic night life.

To reduce your risk, check ahead about political unrest and health alerts where you plan to go or might go for your honeymoon. You might need vaccinations or other medicine to stay safe. You even might change your destination.

Where to start

The “Travelers’ Health” website of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – cdc.gov/travel – lists health precautions and alerts country by country.

Be sure to check about Zika, the virus spread by mosquitoes that has appeared in a growing number of countries and recently in the United States. Zika can cause serious birth defects in babies born to women infected during pregnancy. Zika also has been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder that can cause muscle weakness, paralysis and death.

According to the CDC, Zika also can be spread when a man who has the virus has sex. A man can pass Zika to his partner, even if he does not have symptoms, or if his symptoms have vanished.

There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, so people visiting areas where the virus is found should take steps to prevent infection.

Travel clinics

If you need or might need medication or a vaccination for your honeymoon, check with your physician or a travel clinic for details and treatment. There are several travel clinics in Whatcom County. For a list, go to the Whatcom County government website, co.whatcom.wa.us, and search for “travel clinic.”

Other helpful sources

International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers: See iamat.org for health information searchable by country and by health risk.

The World Factbook: For an overview of countries around the world, see the CIA’s World Factbook website, cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook.

U.S. Department of State: The federal agency lists requirements for traveling to foreign countries with cautionary travel and health warnings. See travel.state.gov.

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