International travel (zika positive zone) with 11 month old- Panama?
May 23, 2016 5:30 AM   Subscribe

I understand this is more of personal or professional question but I am really torn about whether or not to take our 11 month old on our trip to Panama in 2 months.

We booked this trip before Zika started to spread, and it was a trip to meet my husband's family, and for them to meet our daughter. Our pediatrician said it is fine, not to change our plans, just to protect her and us as much as possible and carry on with our plans. I have no future plans of pregnancy (at least within a year or two). I hear some people saying it will be fine, just protect yourself, and others saying don't do it because they don't know enough about the virus. As a mommy I just want to protect her, but also really want this chance to meet and introduce her to family. We do have the opportunity to leave her behind with grandma while we still go. My inclination is just better safe than sorry and to keep her back, or I'll stay back with her. My husband is 100% going because he hasn't seen his family in a couple years. She is all up to date on her shots, and there is no other recommended/required shots for Panama.
posted by MamaBee223 to Human Relations (7 answers total)
I have a baby just a few weeks younger, and wouldn't. Zika has done too many novel things lately. I don't feel confident enough that it can't do anything to someone who was recently a fetus and is still developing at an astonishing clip to travel right now. Sorry that's just another random person's vote, but the whole problem is, nobody knows. While you and I were pregnant, not a single person would have suggested changing travel plans for Zika, and now look at the recommendations.
posted by teremala at 5:43 AM on May 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

If your pediatrician is telling you it's okay, I think that meeting her other family members is so important that it's worth it.

Find the bug repellent you'll need and test it on her before you go.

Here's what the CDC says about children who contract Zika:

Evidence indicates that Zika virus disease in children is usually mild, and treatment is supportive; this includes rest and fluids to prevent dehydration. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) should not be used until dengue is ruled out as a cause of illness and should be avoided in children aged < 6 months. Aspirin is not recommended for use with acute viral illnesses due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome.

Frankly, I'd go, meet the family, I'm sure they're excited to be meeting your daughter for the first time and it's important to maintain family bonds!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:44 AM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

If your doctor says it's okay, then it's probably fine. Besides, you're putting your child at significant risk simply by driving to the airport, and then driving around Panama. On top of that, the following diseases besides Zika are common in Panama:

Yellow Fever
Travellers Diarrhea

There is no vaccination for Chikungunya, and there is no vaccination for Dengue. Both of these were known to exist before Zika was on the radar, yet many people plan to travel to Panama and other parts of the Caribbean anyway (Dengue is getting to be common in Japan, a developed nation with a more advanced healthcare system than the US, for example).

If you weren't worried about these two diseases before, why would you worry about Zika, which is really dangerous during pregnancy anyway?
posted by My Dad at 5:49 AM on May 23, 2016 [9 favorites]

We took our 7-month-old to Puerto Rico in March. It was fine. We took care to book accommodations with air conditioning, and dressed her in lightweight, long-sleeved footies. Aiden + Anais makes muslin ones. For insect repellent, we used DEET wipes in the lowest percentage we could find, and made sure to reapply regularly.

According to the CDC, the entire eastern seaboard is going to be at risk from Zika. Short of moving to Colorado, there's nothing that we can do to prevent exposure other than be vigilant about preventing bites. The precautions that we took are basically going to be standard in many areas anyway.
posted by snickerdoodle at 6:40 AM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I know that the concerns about yellow fever have been coming to light recently and has WHO HCPs trying to promote awareness of how it's spreading. I just got back from a trip to a Zika flagged area. One of my friends was bitten by a mosquito even though the resort we were at was fairly free of mosquitos. I killed one in my hotel room.

Neither of us are pregnant or trying, but they're learning more everyday about the effects it can have on a person's nervous system.

At least use the recommended 25% DEET that the CDC recommends as the preventative.

I wouldn't go.
posted by discopolo at 1:07 PM on May 23, 2016

If you weren't worried about these two diseases before, why would you worry about Zika, which is really dangerous during pregnancy anyway?

The most immediate concern is pregnant women because of the obvious effects on the fetus, but there's evidence of it affecting the central nervous system for non pregnant people.
posted by discopolo at 1:11 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

My inclination is just better safe than sorry and to keep her back.

Honestly, I think that's your answer, regardless of what the rest of us are saying. The likelihood is that everyone will be absolutely fine, but would you really be able to enjoy the trip if you're stressed about this the entire time?
posted by Countess Sandwich at 1:34 PM on May 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

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