Pregnant Meghan Markle Is About To Travel To Countries With Zika — Is That Safe?

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Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry are expecting their first child, and everyone is understandably freaking out — it's exciting!
One thing that's top of mind given that Markle is a royal now is what this pregnancy will mean for her official travel duties. Specifically, since her job is to travel around the world, does Markle need to worry about contracting Zika now that she's pregnant?
Well, a person's risk of becoming infected with Zika entirely depends on where they're traveling. Currently, Markle is on a 16-day trip beginning in Australia — where she and Prince Harry touched down today — then going to New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga, according to Kensington Palace. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there is a Zika risk in Fiji and Tonga.
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People who are pregnant are not advised to travel to countries where Zika is present, because the infection is linked to miscarriage and stillbirth, and can cause serious birth defects, according to the CDC. However, if you absolutely have to travel to Zika-ridden countries, then the CDC suggests that you talk to your doctor or healthcare provider beforehand, and strictly avoid any mosquito bites and unprotected sex while traveling. Additionally, if a pregnant person's partner is traveling to a country with Zika, they also have to take the same precautions, because the virus can be spread sexually.
Despite the royals' grueling travel schedule, it seems like Markle and Prince Harry have things under control. According to royal reporter Emily Nash, the pair sought medical advice before their trip, and they have no plans to cancel any of their tour. On top of that, luckily, the risk of Zika in Fiji and Tonga is much lower now than when it was first noted there in 2016, Adam Kucharski, associate professor and epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told CNN.
This might sound like much ado about nothing, but Zika can be serious regardless of how far along a person's pregnancy is. Reportedly, Markle is about 12 weeks into her pregnancy. So, here's hoping Markle's travels go smoothly now that there's officially a royal baby on board!
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