Zika Virus has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation, due to its potential links with Microcephaly. This birth defect causes abnormal smallness of the head and developmental problems in young children. Travellers, in particular pregnant women or those trying to conceive, are advised to take strict precautions against mosquito bites in Brazil and more than 20 other global territories with Zika Virus outbreaks.
Zika Virus and the Aedes aegypti mosquito
Zika Virus is spread by bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito. This day biting species is also capable of transmitting both Dengue and Chikungunya Viruses. Mosi-guard Natural repellents performance has been well tested.
Zika Virus vaccines, treatments and mosquito repellents
No vaccine or treatment currently exists for the Zika Virus. Common symptoms of infection in healthy people can be relatively mild including fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, headache and conjunctivitis (pink eye).
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are advising pregnant women to review travel plans to high-risk areas and take meticulous precautions against bites by covering exposed skin and using a repellent registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Current high-risk areas for Zika Virus
- In Brazil, cases of Zika have increased 20-fold since May 2015. Almost 4,000 cases of Microcephaly in newborns have been reported since October 2015.
- Outbreaks of Zika have also been identified in Central and South America, Africa, South East Asia, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands.
- Three travellers returning to the United Kingdom from South America have also recently tested positive for Zika according to Public Health England.
Bite prevention tips
Being prepared is key in reducing the risk of being bitten
- Check the CDC or Fit For Travel websites to see if the area you are visiting is affected by an outbreak of Zika or other mosquito-borne diseases
- Seek advice from your Doctor or travel clinic before you leave
- In high risk areas, cover as much exposed skin as possible with lightweight long-sleeved tops and trousers
- Choose accomodation with air conditioning and screens on windows and doors
- Avoid areas of standing water such as lakes and reservoirs, where mosquitoes thrive
- Apply a thin, even layer of a mosquito repellent proven to be effective, to exposed skin
- Use insect repellents safely - always read the label and product information before use