Zika-associated microcephaly in Colombia

The Zika virus was first confirmed in Colombia last October, and now authorities have identified the first 5 cases of babies born with microcephaly in women who were infected with Zika virus during their pregnancy. In the coming months, more cases are expected. Since its introduction, there have been more than 84,000 people infected with this virus. The actual number is much higher, since most people do not develop any symptoms after becoming infected. As a result, they are not registered in official statistics.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Zika Fever.

Advice For Travellers

The risk of exposure to this virus may be high depending on where high numbers of mosquitoes infected with the virus are located. The risk of exposure for the general traveller in any particular location is difficult to estimate since so many infected people have no symptoms and are not recorded officially. There may be many infected people in the community.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for this infection. Travellers can minimize the risk of exposure by taking all necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

There is strong scientific evidence that this virus may be the cause of microcephaly (small brain) and other neurological abnormalities in newborn infants. As a precautionary measure, women who are pregnant, especially in their first trimester, should consider postponing travel to countries where this virus is spreading or, at a minimum, take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites.