Brazil Yacht Services (BYS) is advising pregnant women to consider not travelling to the country on yachts due to the threat that Zika fever could pose to unborn children.
Zika fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease caused by the Zika virus and has been found in countries across the Americas and the Caribbean. The infection has been linked to a significant rise in babies being born with microcephaly — a condition that causes abnormal brain development —in Brazil. The greatest danger of microcephaly is thought to be if infection occurs during the first trimester of pregnancy.
The infection is not considered dangerous to adults and there is no vaccine or preventative medication available.
“Anyone who is pregnant and thinking of coming to Brazil should be fully aware of the risk and probably not attend,” Adam Tarleton of Brazil Yacht Services told Boat International.
British travel advisory body NaTHNaC is also recommending that pregnant women should “consider avoiding travel” to locations where the virus is known to be.
There are concerns that Zika could put people off travelling to Rio de Janeiro for this summer’s Olympic Games.
“The majority of cases are in the North East of the country but rates of infection have increased in Rio de Janeiro state,” Tarleton added.
“The government has recently announced an intensive spraying campaign prior to the opening of the games. I do not expect this to affect those looking to bring their yachts to Rio for the Games.”