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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Zika Virus Infection in Panama (Update)

08 Feb 2016

Further cases of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection have been reported in Panama. As of 1 February 2016, a total of 50 confirmed cases have been identifed in Guna Yala, (formerly known as San Blas) province in the northeast of the country. ZIKV is thought to have been introduced through commericial traffic with Colombia.

Advice for Travellers

Avoidance of mosquito bites, particularly during daylight hours, is recommended for all travellers. Due to the possible link between Zika virus infection and birth defects, pregnant women, or those planning pregnancy are strongly urged to seek pre-travel advice from their health care provider. They should be helped to understand the risks and to make an informed decision on whether to change their travel plans. If the decision is made to travel, strict measures to avoid mosquito bites both during daytime and nightime hours should be followed.

Women who have visited a Zika affected area whilst pregnant should arrange to have their next antenatal check promptly on return home, even if feeling well. This is not intended to cause undue anxiety, but merely as a precaution. In addition, medical attention must be sought quickly for any feverish illness experienced whilst travelling or on return.

Bite avoidance measures include: covering up with clothing, the use of insect repellent and bed nets impregnated with insecticide. Reduction of mosquito breeding sites around hotel rooms/homes is advised for longer term stays.