Zika virus patients increasing in Colombia

Health authorities have registered at least 20,000 cases, making Colombia the second-most affected country in the world after Brazil. Since about 80 % of the people infected with this virus have no symptoms, the actual number of cases more likely to be closer to 100,000 cases.

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

Advice For Travellers

As the virus spreads through the mosquitoes, it is difficult to estimate the risk of exposure for the general traveller. Many infected people (up to 80%) are unaware that they are infected and do not seek medical care. Thus, they are not recorded officially.

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. Since infection with this virus usually causes no symptoms or a rather mild illness similar to flu, there may be many infected people in the community who are unaware of being infected, do not seek medical attention and are not reported to health authorities.

There is growing scientific evidence that this virus may be the cause of microcephaly (small brain) in newborn infants. As a precautionary measure, women who are pregnant 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.

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