Ongoing Zika transmission
Location: Anguilla (UK); Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Aruba (Netherlands); Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bolivia; Bonaire (Netherlands), Saba – Bonaire (Netherlands); Brazil; British Virgin Islands (UK); Cayman Islands (UK); Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curacao (Netherlands); Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; French Guiana (France); Grenada; Guadeloupe (France); Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique (France); Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Puerto Rico (US); Saint-Barthélemy St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Martin (France); St Vincent and the Grenadines; St Maarten (Netherlands); – Bonaire (Netherlands),St Eustatius (Netherlands); Suriname; Turks and Caicos Islands; Trinidad and Tobago; US Virgin Islands (US); Venezuela;
Category: Zika virus
Local transmission of Zika virus has been reported from approximately 50 countries and territories in the Americas region. In some locations transmission is widespread and growing, in others, sporadic or declining. Zika is transmitted primarily through mosquito bites. While less common, sexual transmission occurs. Although symptoms are usually mild and self limited, severe and irreversible birth defects may occur in the babies of women infected when pregnant. Pregnant women should consider delaying travel to Zika-affected areas. Those who are in affected areas should protect themselves against mosquito bites and sexual transmission. After travel to the affected areas, ongoing precautions against sexual transmission are recommended. The situation is continuing to evolve.
Pregnant women and their partners are advised to discuss their risks with their doctor and consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. In addition to the infectious risks of any destination, it is important to consider the standard of available healthcare, and the availability of obstetric and neonatal specialist support (should it be required).
For those who will travel, or are in areas where cases of Zika have been reported:
Prevent infection by preventing mosquito bites.
Use an effective insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin, PMD, or IR3535.
- When outdoors, wear clothing that covers most of your body (long sleeves, long pants, socks).
- Ensure windows are covered with fly-wire.
- Use “knock-down” insect spray to kill mosquitoes in your room. Choose air conditioned accommodation if possible.
- Consider the use of an insecticide-treated bed net.
- Prevent sexual transmission through the use of condoms.
- Monitor your health for two weeks. If you develop symptoms, ensure that you see a doctor.
- Pregnant women – consult your doctor. You may be advised to be tested for Zika whether or not you develop symptoms. Your doctor may also arrange additional monitoring or specialist care.
- Prevent sexual transmission – Anyone who has a pregnant partner should use condoms (applicable to males and females) or abstain for the duration of the pregnancy. For those whose partners are not pregnant, authorities differ in their recommendations for the duration for which precautions should continue. The World Health Organization advises that everyone should continue precautions for at least 6 months after return. The United States CDC advises: Men should continue precautions for at least 6 months; Women should continue precautions for at least 8 weeks.
- Consider delaying pregnancy – The World Health Organization recommends couples or women planning a pregnancy, who have returned from an area with Zika transmission, to wait at least 6 months.
- Continue to prevent mosquito bites for two to three weeks to reduce the risk of infecting local mosquitoes with Zika.
Pregnant women are advised to discuss their risks with their doctor and consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. (In areas above 2000 metres elevation (6,500 feet), the risk of Zika infection through mosquito bites is very low.) In addition to the infectious risks of any destination, it is important to consider the standard of available healthcare, and the availability of obstetric and neonatal specialist support (should it be required). Sexual transmission of Zika virus is possible and is prevented through the use of condoms. Many health authorities including the United States CDC and the World Health Organization advise pregnant women not to travel to areas with active transmission of Zika virus.What is Zika?
Zika is a viral illness that is mostly spread via mosquito bites, although sexual transmission occurs. Four out of five people infected have no symptoms. When symptoms occur, they are usually mild – fever, rash, muscle and joint pains, and red eyes (conjunctivitis), similar to many other viral illnesses including flu, dengue and chikungunya. Most people recover fully in about a week. Occasionally neurological complications including “Guillain-Barr syndrome” (a potentially severe muscular weakness) occurs. Irreversible severe birth defects, including “microcephaly” (a small head with severe brain and developmental abnormalities) can occur in the babies of women infected during pregnancy. There is no specific treatment and no vaccine. Prevention is through avoidance of mosquito bites and sexual transmission.
For more information:
International SOS Zika website
Contact any International SOS assistance centre.
Source: International SOS
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