LIFESTYLE & COMMUNITY

Meghan Markle Is Still Going To Fiji And Tonga, Two Countries With Zika Risk. Just How High Is The Risk, And Should We Be Worried?

Date October 18, 2018 11:28

On October 15, royal watchers finally learned the news they've been expecting to hear since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding – Duchess Meghan is pregnant, Kensington Palace officially confirmed.

READ ALSO: Meghan Markle Is Visiting Regions At Risk Of Zika Virus While Pregnant Against Medical Advice. Why Didn’t She Cancel It?

The news came as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex landed in Sydney, Australia, to start their first official overseas tour. Their itinerary includes places in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga, but some are worried about the latter two. There have been cases of Zika reported in Fiji and Tonga, and the virus is known to pose a serious risk to pregnant women, specifically to their unborn babies. So, is there a reason to be concerned?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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What risks does Zika virus pose, and what should Duchess Meghan do to avoid it?

Zika, which is spread by mosquitoes that carry the virus, made the headlines in 2015 when it swept through South America. There were numerous reports of severe birth defects in babies born to Zika-infected mothers between 2015 and 2016. Since 2016, the number of Zika cases reported worldwide has been on a steady decline.

Meghan Markle Is Still Going To Fiji And Tonga, Two Countries With Zika Risk. Just How High Is The Risk, And Should We Be Worried?Meghan Markle Is Still Going To Fiji And Tonga, Two Countries With Zika Risk. Just How High Is The Risk, And Should We Be Worried?Valeria Aksakova / Shutterstock.com

The CDC advises pregnant women against traveling to Fiji and Tonga, since there’s still a risk of getting infected with the virus when traveling to these countries.

Here’s what the CDC recommends to pregnant women who have to travel to areas where there’s risk of Zika:

  1. Discuss your travel plans with your doctor prior to the trip.
  2. Take all necessary steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip and for 3 weeks after the trip.
  3. See your doctor after the trip even if you don’t have any signs and symptoms.

Meghan Markle Is Still Going To Fiji And Tonga, Two Countries With Zika Risk. Just How High Is The Risk, And Should We Be Worried?Meghan Markle Is Still Going To Fiji And Tonga, Two Countries With Zika Risk. Just How High Is The Risk, And Should We Be Worried?Motortion Films / Shutterstock.com

READ ALSO: All The Clues Many People Didn’t Notice That Indicated Meghan Markle Really Was Pregnant

Just how high is the risk?

In Fiji, there have been no confirmed cases of Zika in 2018, and only one case was reported in 2017. No cases of complications of the infection have been reported in 2017 and 2018, according to CNN.

Meghan Markle Is Still Going To Fiji And Tonga, Two Countries With Zika Risk. Just How High Is The Risk, And Should We Be Worried?khlungcente / Shutterstock.com

Adam Kucharski, the Associate Professor and epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told CNN:

In these countries, there is some risk, but not high risk.

There's still potential, but it's lower than it was.

Meghan Markle Is Still Going To Fiji And Tonga, Two Countries With Zika Risk. Just How High Is The Risk, And Should We Be Worried?Meghan Markle in Serena Williams' jacketgettyimages

So, the risk is still there, but it’s low. Meghan Markle, who is at least 12 weeks pregnant, was advised on the risks and how to protect herself, and there’s no doubt she will heed her doctors’ warnings.

READ ALSO: From Australia With Love: Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Just Received Their First Official Baby Gift