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What travellers need to know about the Zika virus


What is the Zika virus?

Zika virus is closely related to the dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses. It causes a mild influenza-like illness and is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito’s that bite mostly during the day. Human to human transmission is highly unlikely except during pregnancy when the disease can be transmitted from mother to unborn child.

How do I avoid it?

There is no vaccine or medication to prevent Zika. Travellers should protect themselves during the day with mosquito repellent, long sleeves, and pants. DEET repellents are safe for pregnant women to use. Aedes mosquitoes tend to be most active 2-3 hours after dawn and mid to late afternoon but if the day is overcast they may bite all day and even indoors. See Insect Precautions.

History and distribution

The Zika virus was first detected in the Zika forest in Uganda in 1947. Major outbreaks were reported in 2007 in Micronesia and 2013 in French Polynesia. The virus has now reached Central and South America and is rapidly turning into an epidemic. It will continue to spread.


Fever, headaches, muscle and joint pains, fatigue, red eyes and skin rash. Sometimes there is also abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. The symptoms occur for a few days up to 12 days after infection and last about a week. Usually they are mild and disappear on their own. There is no specific treatment for Zika.
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SOURCE: What travellers need to know about the Zika virus ( )
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