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Zika Virus - Sexual Transmission & Pregnancy

About the author


Beverley Tompkins

Specialist Travel Health Nurse AFTM RCPS (Glasg)

Beverley is Nomad's Specialist Travel Health nurse. She started nursing in infectious diseases before joining Nomad in 2010 to pursue her career as a Travel Health Nurse. Beverley is an Associate member of the Faculty of Travel Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow and member of the British Travel and Global Health Association. Beverley is very passionate about travel health, when she is not in clinic she enjoys writing articles on the subject and presenting.

Nomad Travel Health Services

Nomad Travel Clinics

Need help? Please book an appointment or call
0134 155 5061

Using the Nomad clinic services gives you a one-to-one experience with a qualified, highly trained, travel health nurse.

The consultation includes:

  • A detailed medical history
  • Risk assessment based on style and length of your trip
  • Advice on preventative measures you can take

Your pharmacy based travel clinic is all very well but for specialist advice at the same or lower cost come to Nomad. This is strongly advised if you are on a more adventurous or complex itinerary, or have special medical needs. Nomad Travel Clinics are specialists in:

  • Last minute travel
  • Complex itineraries
  • Travel health and existing medical conditions
  • Open 6 days per week

allowing 6-8 weeks for your vaccination programme, you have time to fit in full courses of vaccines where required which provides you with the best possible protection against certain vaccine preventable diseases. If you don’t have time to complete courses before you go, you risk travelling with little or even no protection against sometimes high risk diseases.

Nomad Pharmacy

Nomad Travel Pharmacy has a wide range of Pharmacy items for all your outdoor and travel needs. Browse the Nomad Pharmacy here...


We are still receiving lots of questions regarding the risks of Zika virus and pregnancy so here is some latest guidance from Public Health England broken down to help provide some clear information and advice.

There is an ongoing outbreak of Zika virus infection, mostly in South and Central America and the Caribbean. Symptoms of Zika infection include: fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, headache and lower back pain. In most people Symptomatic Zika virus infection is typically mild and short-lived however there is particular risk for women who are pregnant or who are planning a pregnancy due to the risks of Zika virus affecting the developing fetus.

Sexual Transmission

  • A small number of cases of sexual transmission have been reported
  • Potential routes of transmission include vaginal, anal and oral sex
  • Most cases have been male-to-female, but male-to-male transmission has also been reported
  • Reports suggest that sexual transmission can occur when no symptoms were present, but also during and after a man has experienced symptoms
  • Zika virus RNA has been detected in semen at 62 days following onset of symptomatic illness
  • During travel condom use is advised during vaginal, anal and oral sex to reduce the risk of transmission
  • Condom use is also advised 8 weeks after return from an area with active Zika virus transmission
  • Condom use is advised for six months following recovery of clinically confirmed Zika virus (this is a precautionary approach)

Planning Pregnancy

  • Women should avoid becoming pregnant while they are travelling in an area with active Zika virus transmission, and then for 8 weeks after their return
  • It is important to practice excellent mosquito bite avoidance throughout the day, from mid morning to nighttime. Taking particular care late afternoon to dusk when these mosquitoes are most active
  • Mosquito repellents containing up to 50% DEET can be used safely in pregnancy. DEET should be applied after the sunscreen

Pregnant Women

  • It is recommended that pregnant women should postpone travel to risk areas with active Zika transmission until after pregnancy.
  • All pregnant women who have recently travelled to a country where there is active Zika virus transmission should notify their primary care doctor, obstetrician or midwife as soon as possible on return
  • Condom use is advised following travel to an area of Zika virus transmission if a partner of a pregnant woman, throughout her pregnancy regardless of whether there have been symptoms suggestive of Zika virus
  • Pregnant woman with a history of travel during pregnancy to an area with active Zika virus transmission reporting symptomatic illness that could be of Zika virus during or within two weeks of travel should be tested for Zika virus infection, and have a baseline foetal ultrasound

These guidelines are a precautionary approach in line with the advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and may be revised when more information is available.

Nomad are your experts for advice on mosquito bite avoidance and can supply top of the range products - so pay them a visit before you go by booking a consultation at one of 9 Travel Clinics nationwide.