Zika: an update

Pregnant stomach with mosquito on it

A new update from the World Health Organization (WHO) provides information on Zika virus for travellers visiting countries where transmission is present. Although WHO advises against any restriction of travel to countries, areas and territories with Zika transmission, travellers should practise precautions before and during travel such as keeping a close eye on travel recommendations and avoiding exposure to mosquito bites.

Recommendations for pregnant women tend to be stricter and WHO recommends that pregnant women, women who may become pregnant within two months of travel, and male travellers whose partner may become pregnant within three months of travel check with their healthcare providers and carefully consider the risks and possible consequences of Zika infection before traveling to areas where there may be Zika virus transmission. This is necessary because Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her foetus and cause birth defects.

Precautions are also advised for travellers following their return home. These include continued use of insect repellant and, for returning travellers with symptoms of possible Zika, it is advised that they contact their healthcare provider and inform them of their travel history.

WHO said that it will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates.