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0000017b-35e5-df5e-a97b-35edaf910000Interest in Cuba has surged since the Obama administration’s announcement of a thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations. Opportunities may exist to build trade with the communist island nation, with exports of both manufactured and agricultural goods. And “I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba,” is a refrain that may help spur tourism between Michigan and the “Pearl of the Antilles.” Michigan Radio has two journalists in Cuba to tell some of the stories of Michigan’s connections to the Caribbean nation.

Heading south to escape Michigan's winter, state health officials say remember 'Zika'

A Cuban worker fumigates an apartment in Havana
Tracy Samilton
Michigan Radio
A Cuban worker fumigates an apartment in Havana

State health officials are warning Michiganders headed south on vacation this winter to be aware that Zika is still a major health threat.

The mosquito-borne virus can cause serious birth defects.  The Centers for Disease Control reports people have been infected in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico, as well as the Caribbean and South America.

Dr. Eden Wells is Michigan’s chief medical executive. She’s concerned travelers may be less worried because Zika has not been in the news very much lately.

"We still do not have a vaccine or medication for Zika," says Wells. "I think the research in the vaccine is improving but we already have 41 babies that have been born in the United States that are effected by Zika."

The health department says pregnant women or couples planning to become pregnant should not travel to places where Zika-carrying mosquitoes are active. 

Others should take precautions to reduce exposure to mosquitoes while vacationing in warmer climates.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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