Zika virus transmission in Western Hemisphere - summary

Countries that are reporting on-going transmission of the Zika virus include :

Mexico (Chiapas State); El Salvador; Costa Rica; Nicaragua; Dominican Republic; Puerto Rico; Jamaica (St. Ann Parish); Cayman Islands; Sint Eustatius; Brazil; Colombia and Peru.

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

Advice For Travellers

The intensity of virus transmission varies considerably from country to country with some countries reporting tens of thousands of cases (e.g., Colombia), while others are reporting only sporadic cases (e.g., Cayman Islands). Thus, the risk for the general traveller may vary considerably from country to country.

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.

The absence of reports from other countries does not mean there is no transmission of Zika virus there.

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 is the cause of microcephaly (small brain) and other neurological abnormalities in newborn infants. It is also associated with the development of the Guillain–Barré syndrome, a relatively rare condition characterized by the rapid-onset of a neurological illness with muscle weakness.

The World health Organization states that pregnant women should be advised not to travel to areas of Zika virus outbreaks. Pregnant women whose sexual partners live in or travel to areas with Zika virus outbreaks should ensure safe sexual practices or abstain from sex for the duration of their pregnancy,