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29 JANUARY 2016
Factsheet - Zika

Zika Virus
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in the Zika forest of Uganda in 1947 in rhesus
monkeys. It occurs in tropical areas with large mosquito populations and is known to circulate in Africa, the
Americas, Southern Asia and Western Pacific. Given the expansion of environments where mosquitoes can
live and breed, facilitated by urbanisation and globalisation, the World Health Organisation has warned
there is potential for major urban epidemics of Zika virus disease to occur globally.
More information is available from the World Health Organisation

The Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus,
mainly Aedes aegypti in tropical regions. This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya
and yellow fever.
When the mosquito feeds on the blood of a person infected with Zika virus, the virus enters and multiplies
within the mosquito. After about 2 weeks, the mosquito can transmit the virus to another human. After an
infected mosquito bites a human, the first symptoms of Zika can develop in 3 to 12 days but it can be
shorter or longer in some people.
Whilst almost all cases of Zika are acquired via mosquito bites, a small number of cases have occurred
through sexual transmission or by transmission from mother to foetus via the placenta.
The majority of people infected do not have symptoms. For those with symptoms, Typical symptoms include:
 a low-grade fever  joint pain (with possible swelling mainly in the smaller joints of the hands and feet)  conjunctivitis/red eyes The symptoms of Zika are similar t(caused by a related flavivirus) or(an alphavirus), which are often co-circulating in areas where Zika virus is present. Serious complications and deaths from Zika are not common. However, recent increases in congenital anomalies (particularly microcephaly), Guillain-Barré syndrome, and other neurological and autoimmune syndromes are being reported in areas where Zika outbreaks have occurred. The association of these illnesses with Zika virus is temporal and causality has yet to be proven. Factsheet - Zika
Health authorities are currently investigating a potential link between Zika virus in pregnant women and
microcephaly in their babies. Until more is known, women who are pregnant or planning to become
pregnant should take extra care to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
If you are pregnant and suspect that you may have Zika virus disease, consult your doctor as soon as
possible for close monitoring during your pregnancy.
For most people diagnosed with Zika virus disease, diagnosis is based on their symptoms and recent
history (e.g. mosquito bites, or travel to an area where Zika virus is known to be present). Laboratory
testing is essential for the correct diagnosis.
There is no specific antiviral treatment for Zika. Supportive nursing care and relief of symptoms are the
standard treatment.
Treating the symptoms:
 Get plenty of rest.  Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.  Take medicines such as acetaminophen or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain.  Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.  If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
The symptoms of Zika virus disease can be treated with common pain and fever medicines, rest and plenty
of water. If symptoms worsen, people should seek medical advice. There is currently no cure or vaccine for
the disease itself.
The best protection from Zika virus is preventing mosquito bites. Preventing mosquito bites will protect
people from Zika virus, as well as other diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes such as dengue,
chikungunya and yellow fever. Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime.
This can be done by using insect repellent; wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much
of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows; and sleeping
under mosquito nets. It is also important to empty, clean or cover containers that can hold water such as
buckets, flower pots or tyres, so that places where mosquitoes can breed are removed.

Should I avoid travelling to areas where Zika virus is occurring?
Travellers should stay informed about Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases and consult their local
health or travel authorities if they are concerned. In the UK information is regularlly updated by Public
Health England and TravelHealthPro.
To protect against Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, everyone should avoid being bitten by
mosquitoes by taking the measures described above. Women who are pregnant or planning to become
pregnant should follow this advice, and may also consult their local health authorities if travelling to an area
with an ongoing Zika virus outbreak.
Factsheet - Zika
Based on available evidence, WHO is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions related to Zika
virus disease. As a precautionary measure, some national governments may make public health and travel
recommendations to their own populations, based on their assessments of the available evidence and local
risk factors. The UK Government issues travel advice through Public Health England and NaTHNaC.
What special precautions should I take if I am pregnant?
Zika virus can spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. There have been reports of serious birth
defects in the infected babies, including brain defects calledand other poor pregnancy
outcomes. Knowledge of the link between Zika and these outcomes is evolving but until more is known,
CDC recommends special precautions for the following groups:

Women who are pregnant (in any trimester):
Consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus is present.
If you must travel, talk to your doctor first and strictly followduring your trip.

Women who are trying to become pregnant:
Before you travel, talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus
If you decide to travel, strictly followduring your trip.
Where is Zika virus?
There is currently an outbreak of Zika virus in the following countries:
 French Guiana  Haiti, Honduras,  Saint Martin Please note that this list is subject to change at any time. The most up to date information is available from
Further Sources of Information.

Further Sources of Information
 World Health Organisation (WHO) (factsheet
trol and Prevention (CDC)(Q&A -  Public Health England (PHE)  National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC)  TravelHealthPro http://www.travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Source: http://www.ourbupa.co.uk/Documents/Zika%20Factsheet%2028%2001%2016%20-%20UK.pdf

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