A Virus known as Zika that is transmitted through mosquito bites has been in the news lately as it affecting multiple countries in Latin America and is expected to spread to the U.S.  The Pentagon recently announced that it will relocate certain at-risk family members of active-duty personnel and civilian Defense Department employees assigned to areas affected by the Zika virus.  Pregnant family members will be offered voluntary relocation according to a Defense Department official.  U.S Southern Command officials said that one expecting service member already has been relocated.  The response is over a growing concern over the rapid outbreak of Zika virus in South and Central America as well as the Caribbean.  Department of Defense spokesman Peter Cook said Thursday that the Pentagon will collaborate with other government agencies as part of the U.S. response, led by the Health and Human Services Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a public health emergency, estimating that more than 4 million people may be infected by the end of the year.  According to the Center for Disease Control, 22 countries in the Western Hemisphere now have reported cases of Zika.

While the mechanics of how the virus can be spread is still not fully understood by the scientific community, some in the Immigration space have warned about the flood of immigrants that have entered the USA from high risk countries.  Michael Cutler, who served 30 years with the Immigration and Naturalization Service told Radio America that he believes the safest way to proceed while more research on the virus in conducted is to give blood tests to everyone entering the United States at every airport, seaport and border crossing.  He admitted it would be a huge logistical undertaking, but said US immigration has a history of investigating and quarantining people entering the U.S. if they are suspected of carrying a serious disease.

If anyone has immigration matters involving pregnant US Citizen spouses or childbearing age spouses that want more children and have ties to an affected country please contact our office, as the current threat of the Zika Virus may be a factor in your case.