If you’re journeying to South or Central America you need to learn about the Zika virus. Zika is spread by the mosquito and its effects are, for the most part, benign: Only 20 percent of those infected ever feel symptoms (joint pain, rash, red eyes). But Zika poses a great risk during pregnancy and has been linked to multiple cases of microcephaly. The mechanism remains a mystery, but the relationship is almost certainly causal, and Zika is spreading with alarming speed.
Those traveling to affected areas should employ the same mosquito-avoidance strategies used to prevent malaria, and women who are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant are urged to avoid travel to those areas altogether: choose the Seychelles, and visit Riviera Maya another day. Basic information—and links to CDC travel advisories—are at hhs.gov/blog/2016/01/28/zika-101.html.