Zika

Zika is a disease caused by a virus mainly spread by the bite of an infected mosquitoe. For most people it is a mild infection and is not harmful.

However, it may be more serious for pregnant women, as there is evidence it causes birth defects, in particular abnormally small heads (microcephaly).

There is currently no vaccine or drug to help prevent Zika Virus infection prevention of Zika virus relies primarily on mosquito bite avoidance.

Zika outbreaks have been reported in the Pacific Islands, South and Central America, The Caribbean, Africa and parts of South and Southeast Asia.

If you plan to travel to an affected areas, seek travel health advice before your trip.

It is recommended that pregnant women should:

Postpone non-essential travel to areas at high risk of Zika Virus Transmission

Consider postponing non-essential travel to areas at moderate risk of transmission until after pregnancy.

It is recommended that you avoid becoming pregnant while travelling to an area with high or moderate risk of Zika virus transmission, and for eight weeks after your return. It is also recommended that you take folic acid supplements for 28 days before trying to get pregnant.

If you have experienced Zika symptoms within two weeks of returning home, it is recommended you wait eight weeks after full recovery before trying to get pregnant.

If you are a man travelling to an area with high or moderate risk of Zika virus transmission you should use effective contraception to prevent pregnancy and condoms during vaginal, anal and oral sex to reduce the risk of sexual transmission of the Zika virus.

These measures should be taken during travel and for six months,

After start of symptoms (if you experience Zika symptoms or a zika virus infection has been confirmed by a doctor.

Following your return home if you have no symptoms.

Zika Virus and Blood Donation

As a precaution the NHS Blood and Transplant Service has recommended that people who have travelled to areas with high or moderate risk of Zika virus transmission wait 28 days before donating blood.

For up to date advice on travel and Zika virus visit the Travel Health Pro Zika Virus Webpage