Mulltiple countries are currently experiencing outbreaks of Zika virus infection, particularly countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean. Zika virus is
transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are not present in the UK;
almost all cases will be associated with transmission by mosquito bites in countries
with active Zika virus transmission.
Most people infected with Zika virus will have no symptoms, or will
experience a mild, short-lived illness that resolves spontaneously, following an incubation period of up to 14 days. However, some countries with active Zika virus transmission, particularly Brazil, have reported an increase in the number of babies being born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, while Zika virus transmission is also occurring.
It is not yet proven that Zika virus infection of pregnant women causes microcephaly
and other congenital defects, but the scientific evidence is sufficient to act on a
precautionary basis and there is enough concern about the association between Zika
virus infection and microcephaly for the World Health Organization (WHO) to have
declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Additionally, Guillain-
Barré syndrome and other neurological and autoimmune syndromes are being
reported in areas where Zika outbreaks have occurred although this appears to be
considerably rarer. (Travel Advice for prganant women - gov.uk)
Pregnant women and Zika virus infection
Efforts are focussed on trying to prevent Zika virus infections in pregnant women or in
women who are planning pregnancy. Such women should have pre-departure travel
advice that includes considering avoiding non-essential travel to countries with active
transmission until after pregnancy is concluded, and advice on measures that can be
taken to limit infection risk when travel is unavoidable.
A small number of cases of male-to-female sexual transmission of Zika virus have been reported, and advice about preventing sexual transmission is also available.
Other groups and Zika virus infection
Other travellers to, or other people arriving from countries with active Zika
transmission may present with symptoms suggestive of Zika virus infection, or have
concerns about Zika virus risks associated with travel. . Advice
has been produced for members of the public.
I reiterate that the risk to the UK population is very low, and that our efforts should be
focused on preventing Zika virus infection in pregnant women or women planning to
become pregnant, associated with travel to countries with active Zika virus
transmission. Additionally, women who may have been exposed to Zika virus and
who are pregnant or who are planning pregnancy require appropriate assessment
and advice - contact your GP if you are concerned in any way. Please call us on 0161 870 6546 for further guidance or click here to read the NHS overview.