The Duke and Duchess of Sussex delighted the world with their recent announcement that they will be taking an extended trip together in the Fall. As part of their duties as working Royals, they will undertake various trips of this type over the years and the couple has expressed that they are looking forward to serving the Crown in this way. This time, they will be visiting the Commonwealth nations of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga starting in October.
Certainly, the citizens of these countries are looking forward to seeing the Duke and Duchess in person, and all the preparations are underway to make it a memorable occasion. But one big issue has raised the concern of medical professionals around the world, and they are wondering if the Duke and Duchess have thought their decision through completely.
You see, the nations that Harry and Meghan will be visiting are high-risk areas for the mosquito-borne disease known as Zika Virus, which can cause tragic consequences for unborn children if the mother contracts it.
According to the International Association for Medical Assistance for Travelers, there is “evidence of ongoing Zika virus transmission” in Fiji and cautions that “anti-mosquito bite measures” need to be adhered to. They added, “There is evidence of ongoing Zika virus transmission in Fiji and travelers should “take meticulous anti-mosquito bite measures during the daytime.”
Then, in the most telling statement of all, they urge pregnant travelers to postpone their trip due to the high risk to their unborn babies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chimed in, warning that the virus has been “reported” in Tonga, too, and strongly warn those planning travel there that there is currently “no vaccine or medicine to prevent against it.”
Prince Harry faces no risk, but if Meghan is pregnant at the time of their visit and is bitten by a mosquito that is infected with the virus, she puts the health of her unborn child at severe risk for birth defects.
In addition, medical experts recommend that couples refrain from becoming pregnant for six months after having traveled to one of the at-risk areas, to give the mother-to-be a chance to recover from the virus if she happens to have been infected.
With all the current medical information available about the risks of the Zika Virus for women of child-bearing age, it seems rather ill-advised that the Duke and Duchess would entertain the notion of going to these countries at this time. If starting a family is, indeed, number one on their priority list, then perhaps they should take another look at their travel agenda.
Undoubtedly, the Queen has an opinion on the subject and we hope that Harry and Meghan listen to her wise words of advice concerning future members of the Royal Family, whose health and well-being cannot be taken lightly. And the newlyweds surely would do well to remember that when planning their trips.
To learn more about Harry and Meghan's baby plans, watch the video, below.