News

22-02-2016

All people travelling to areas of ongoing Zika virus transmission should take steps to prevent Zika virus infection by reducing the risk of mosquito bites.

There is limited information available regarding the risk of sexual transmission of the Zika virus (and the risk is considered low) however two cases of probable sexual transmission of Zika virus from men to their sexual partners have been reported and Zika virus has been detected in semen up to nine weeks after symptomatic infection in one case. In all cases the men had had symptoms of infection, although one case the transmission occurred in the period before the symptoms.

Zika virus is estimated to remain in the blood for three to five days following symptoms onset. Viral material has been detected in saliva or urine for more than a week after clearance of virus from the blood. The timing and duration for Zika virus presence or persistence in the semen and infectivity is unknown. Approximately 80% of people with Zika virus infection experience no symptoms. it is not known whether men who do not develop symptoms can transmit Zika virus through sex or infect a mosquito, but the current Health Department recommendations are deliberately cautious and assume both are possible. it is not known whether an infected woman can transmit Zika virus through sex.

The current recommendations are subject to change as more information becomes available:

  • Men who have travelled to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission whose partner is pregnant should abstain from sexual activity ( vaginal, anal or oral)or consistently use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy, whether symptomatic or not
  • Men who have confirmed Zika virus infection, whose partner is not pregnant should abstain from sexual activity ( vaginal, anal or oral) or consistently use condoms for three months following the resolution of symptoms

There is no recognised risk of Zika virus transmission by mosquitoes in WA

Until more is known about the relationship between Zika virus and microcephaly, pregnant women and women planning pregnancy should consider deferring travel to any area with known Zika virus transmission.

Testing for pregnant women who have travelled in an area with Zika virus transmission  depends on the time of presentation in relation to potential exposure and the presence or not of symptoms. The testing for exposed pregnant women and symptomatic travellers are serum antibodies and PCR and urine PCR.

In order to exclude Zika virus infection consideration could be given to serological testing of asymptomatic man at least 4 weeks after last potential exposure for those who are part of a couple planning pregnancy and for those men who travelled to a potentially exposed area, but did not suffer symptoms of a Zika virus infection and whose partner is currently pregnant

further details and a list of countries experiencing outbreaks of Zika virus and specific advice is available at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-zika.htm

<- Back to: News