Zika has spread to many tropical and sub-tropical countries. This list will be updated as the situation changes. The Ministry of Health recommends that if you're travelling to any Pacific Island country, you should always take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. If you are travelling outside of the Pacific, the most up-to-date list of countries currently infected with Zika virus can be found here: No Zika-related trade or travel restrictions are recommended at this time.
What are the symptoms and who is at risk? Most people who get infected with the Zika virus do not show any symptoms.
Only one in five people who get it will feel sick. The symptoms appear days after getting the infection and last from days. However, as Zika infection may cause a rash that could be confused with serious diseases such as measles or dengue, these diseases do need to be ruled out. There is no specific treatment for Zika virus infection and if symptoms develop these will typically clear up within days. Get plenty of rest and fluids, and treat the symptoms that you have.
Use paracetamol for pain and fever if needed. Until dengue can be ruled out, do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs like ibuprofen, due to the risk of bleeding. Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes members of the Aedes family that are active during the day.
Anyone who is bitten by an infected mosquito is potentially at risk of infection. Zika virus and pregnancy Pregnant women who become infected with Zika virus can transmit the disease to their unborn babies, with potentially serious consequences. Prenatal Zika virus infection is a cause of microcephaly and other serious brain anomalies in developing fetuses. Reports from several countries, most notably Brazil, show that there has been an increase in severe birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes in babies whose mothers were living in areas while pregnant where Zika virus infections were occurring.
Anyone who is pregnant or plans to become pregnant should defer travel to an affected area. We recommend that women travelling in Zika-affected areas protect themselves against mosquito bites and, if needed, use an appropriate contraception to prevent pregnancy.
Women returning from Zika-affected areas should avoid getting pregnant for eight weeks after leaving the affected country. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Always use as directed. Insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, and IR are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children older than 2 months when used according to the product label.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under 3 years of age. If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear such as boots, pants, socks, and tents. Use bed nets as necessary. Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms. If you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and you've recently travelled to an area with Zika, we recommend that you speak with your healthcare provider or lead maternity carer, even if you do not feel sick.
It is especially important to see a healthcare provider if you develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes during your trip or within eight weeks after travelling to a country where Zika has been reported.
Sexual transmission of Zika virus The risk of Zika virus being spread by means other than mosquito bites is still unclear and is likely to be a very rare occurrence. There is very limited scientific evidence to suggest the virus can be sexually transmitted. All those who have travelled to a Zika-affected area should avoid sex or use condoms, even if you do not have symptoms. Women who have travelled to a Zika-affected country should use appropriate contraception for eight weeks to avoid pregnancy.
It's important that you abstain from sexual activity or use condoms even if you are not showing symptoms. Only one in five people who get the Zika infection will show symptoms, so it's possible to have the infection and not know it. Call Healthline if you are unsure what to do. Reducing the risk of exposure Because Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes that are mostly active during daytime, it is important that all travellers visiting affected areas continue to take protective measures to prevent mosquito bites throughout the day.
Such measures include protective clothing, repellents, and bed-nets where necessary. The risk of the infection being spread by means other than mosquito bites is still unclear and is likely to be a very rare occurrence. There is evidence to suggest that the virus can be sexually transmitted. The best way to reduce the possibility of sexual transmission of the virus, or the possibility of becoming pregnant while infected with Zika virus, is to practice safe sex and use condoms.
More information For more information about Zika virus, see the following websites: Current infected countries are shown here: