Zika virus transmission reports in Americas

Active transmission of the Zika virus is being reported by the following countries:

  • In Central America: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras (largest number of cases in Central America), Nicaragua, Panama .

  • In the Caribbean: Dominican Republic , French Guiana, Guadeloupe (over 30,000 cases), Haiti, Martinique (largest number of cases in Caribbean), Puerto Rico, (major epidemic) Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin. Islands with fewer cases include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kits and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Virgin Islands (UK), Virgin Islands (USA.

  • In South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil (almost 200,000 cases), Colombia (almost 100,000 cases), Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela.

  • Mexico is affected. There is increasing spread of locally acquired infections in southern Florida, USA.

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. 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. The World Health Organization advises that pregnant women should not travel to areas with 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,

Men or women who have traveled to an area with epidemic Zika may become infected without symptoms. Based on new evidence, the recommended length of time for safer sex practices for asymptomatic males returning from areas with active Zika virus transmission was extended from 8 weeks to 6 months. This is the same length of time as is recommended for symptomatic males. This recommendation now also applies to females, whether or not they have had symptoms. If the man’s partner is pregnant, the couple should either use condoms or not have sex during the pregnancy. It is unknown how long after infection women can transmit the virus to their partners.

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