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Zika Virus Infection in the Caribbean and the Americas

20 Jan 2016

Zika virus infection (ZIKV) has been reported from an increasing number of countries in the Caribbean and the Americas over the past 9 months.

As of 20 January 2016, ZIKV has been reported from the following countries: Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, El Salvador, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Maldives, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Thailand, Venezuela and very recently reported, Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Martinique and Saint Martin.

Other mosquito-borne infections are also a risk in some of these countries e.g. dengue fever, chikungunya, malaria and yellow fever.

Advice for Travellers

Avoidance of mosquito bites, particularly during daylight hours, is recommended. Due to the possible link between Zika virus infection and birth defects, pregnant women are urged to be particularly vigilant in preventing mosquito bites.

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.