Zika virus: Advice for those planning to travel to outbreak areas

The Zika virus is carried by mosquitos Credit: CDC

UK health bodies have issued travel advice for anyone planning to go to areas affected by a virus which is thought to cause defects in newborn babies.

Women in El Salvador were today urged to avoid getting pregnant for two years after scientists linked the mosquito-borne Zika virus with rising cases of microcephaly, a neurological disorder in which infants are born with smaller craniums and brains.

Brazil has the highest number of reported cases, followed by Colombia, which has issued similar advise against pregnancy.

Health worker fumigates a neighbourhood in El Salvador as a measure against the 'Zika' virus Credit: Jose Cabezas/Reuters

Public Health England and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) have now issued advice after three cases of Zika virus were reported in three UK travellers who had been to affected areas in Colombia, Suriname and Guyana.

Anyone planning to go to affected areas in South and Central America and the Caribbean should:

  • Seek travel health advice from GP well in advance

  • Consult the NaTHNaC website for up to date information on country-specific outbreaks

  • If pregnant, consider avoiding travel to areas where Zika outbreaks are reported

  • If planning to become pregnant, discuss travel plans to assess the risk of infection

  • Take scrupulous measures to avoid insect bites

Zika virus: Women in Latin American countries told to 'avoid pregnancy'