Zika Virus Continues to Be a Concern for Some Expats

by David Tompkins

zika virus

Zika Virus Continues to Be a Concern for Some Expats

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Zika virus that originated in Africa was likely transported to Brazil and has become a serious health issue for local nationals and expatriates in Brazil and the entire region. According to the US Centers for Disease Control  (CDC), many people who have traveled to Zika infected areas have been infected and then brought the illness back to the USA. There has been very limited local transmission in Florida. The Zika virus does seem to have become less of a news story since 2016.

Zika virus is spread mostly by the bite of an infected mosquito. Zika can cause serious neurological disorders such as microscopically (a serious birth defect) in pregnant mothers. In this article, we will discuss the facts about Zika virus as they are known now, advice for expatriates and travelers to reduce the possibility of exposure to Zika, and the importance of obtaining international health insurance for expatriates that will cover conditions related to this disease.

Facts About Zika Virus 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) committee, Zika virus and associated health issues should remain an international concern. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect, microscopically, and other severe fetal brain defects. In the past few months, many countries in Central and South America have been affected. Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy. The risks of Zika virus transmission is not going away.

How To Prevent Zika Virus Infection? 

WHO suggests that pregnant women should be advised not to travel to any country at risk of Zika. Travelers and expats should protect themselves by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, as well as sleep under a mosquito bet net if sleeping or staying outdoors. Besides, traveler and expats should pay close attention to WHO’s regular updates of travel guidance before departure. They will provide information on the countries and the duration of Zika virus infection.

Expatriates Overseas International Health Insurance 

Expatriates living and working in Central and South America should have raised awareness of the potential risks of Zika virus. Though countries at high risk of Zika should clearly provide education to the public, expats would want to take precautions to avoid the health crisis. Expats are encouraged to consult a healthcare professional if similar symptoms appear: muscle pain, tired, fever, etc. Due to the complications of Zika treatment, it is important for expats to obtain international health insurance coverage. Travel medical plans may exclude disease infections such as Zika. Therefore, any medical costs abroad can be a financial burden. However, with an international health insurance plan, you are protected with treatment in any medical facility worldwide.

Most expatriate health insurance plans will provide emergency evacuation and repatriation as a standard benefit. This is very important if you are feeling quite ill and local medical facilities are below western standards. It is vital that you obtain emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage in the event of being evacuated to your home country for proper medical treatment.

What Kind of International Health Insurance Plans Should Expatriates Look At? 

International health insurance plans vary among insurance companies. If expatriates who are planning to move overseas, or are currently residing countries at risk of Zika and seeking medical coverage, the best way to find out the most suitable plan would be to consult international health insurance broker from Expat Financial. Expat Financial can source international health insurance for expatriates in Central and South America from large and respected international insurance companies.

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