News

18-01-2017

Zika virus has not been in the news of late, but has been slowly spread throughout SouthEast Asia, most of the Americas ( including parts of the United States), and the Pacific.Updates on the areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission are available online at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/ or www.health.gov.au  . The maps found at travelhealthpro.org.uk are updated frequently and very clear regarding areas of moderate and high risk to avoid when planning a holiday and a pregnancy. The Australian Department of Health currently recommends women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the near future consider delaying travel to areas with Zika virus. There is a low chance of the disease being present in most returned travellers, but the consequences for pregnancy can be catastrophic on the rare occasion a baby is affected.

The areas include very popular holiday destinations for Western Australians such as Indonesia, Bali, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and even the Maldives, Cambodia, Laos and Fiji.

 

Pregnant women in any trimester who become infected with the Zika virus can transmit the disease to their unborn baby, potentially causing serious abnormalities or death. Women who have travelled to Zika areas are advise to wait eight weeks before starting a pregnancy. Men who have travelled through areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission can transmit the virus sexually ( including oral,anal and vaginal sex) for up to six months after leaving the area. Condoms can reduce the chance of transmitting Zika virus from sex .

 

The Zika virus produces mild symptoms of fever, rash, joint aches and often conjunctivitis that last days, it is rare to suffer ongoing joint aches and fatigue. Currently it is thought 80% of those infected with the virus have no symptoms.There is no vaccine or prophylactic medication or treatment available.

Laboratory tests can be done for pregnant women potentially exposed to Zika virus immediately before or during her pregnancy. The available tests may require 4 weeks following the last potential exposure to give a result. There is no specific treatment for Zika virus if a positive test is returned. A positive test gives the parents no information as to whether the baby is infected or harmed. Currently should a pregnant woman return laboratory tests positve for Zika virus exposure, her pregnancy will be more closely monitored by Specialists.

 

Women who are unable to defer their travel plans are advise to take insect bite avoidance measures such as netting,  DEET repellent, clothing during both daytime and night time hours. If sunscreen is needed, repellent should be applied after the sunscreen. The sunscreen should be 30 SPF or higher to compensate for DEET-induced reduction in SPF

 

 

 

<- Back to: News