Zika virus infection is a mosquito-borne disease caused by Zika virus. The most common symptoms of Zika virus infection are fever and skin rash, usually accompanied by conjunctivitis, muscle or joint pain and general malaise.

Neurological and autoimmune complications are infrequent, but have been described in the outbreaks in French Polynesia and, more recently, in Brazil. Recently Brazil health authorities have observed an increase in babies born with microcephaly in northeast Brazil. More investigation is underway to study the relationship between microcephaly in babies and the Zika virus infection.

Zika virus is mainly transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Zika virus can also be transmitted through blood, but this is an infrequent mechanism. Sexual transmission of Zika virus may have occurred, and there were reports in a limited number of cases that the virus has been shown to be present in semen.

Pregnant women and women preparing for pregnancy should consider deferring their trip to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission. Travellers should seek medical advice before the trip and avoid mosquito bites during the trip. Travellers who return from affected areas and feel unwell e.g. having fever, should seek medical advice as soon as possible, and provide travel details to doctors.

From the Centre for Health Protection
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Zika Virus Infection