The most common method of acquiring Zika virus infection is from travelling to a country with high or moderate Zika virus risk, however it can occasionally be transmitted sexually ( oral, anal and vaginal). Although generally a mild or asymptomatic illness, it can cause significant risk to a developing baby during pregnancy.

An update on the advice to men who have travelled in or returned from an area of Zika risk has been posted by the Department of Health. The period of abstinence/pregnancy deferral/safe sex for asymptomatic men has been increased from eight weeks to six months. The zika virus survives in semen longer than other body fluids.  The advice to women ( pregnant or not) and their sexual partners and for symptomatic men has remained unchanged. women who have travelled to a Zika area continue to be advised to use barrier methods for eight weeks after latest exposure, even if there has been  no Zika symptoms , or eight weeks after symptoms onset.

The changed warnings come with advice regarding the availability of testing for couples and people who are unable to wait the recommended time periods due to difficulties with delaying pregnancy particularly. It is recommended the couple attends their GP to discuss and arrange the required testing should it be necessary.

Detailed advice for travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy and for women of child-bearing age ( and their partners) on Zika virus : preventing infection by sexual transmission and areas of current risk is available from

<- Back to: News