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.

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