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International > Health and safety > Countries that are infected with Zika virus

Countries that are infected with Zika virus.

In recent years, Zika virus was found outside of the African countries where it has been known for decades, such as Uganda and Tanzania. Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have been recorded in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific since 2015. The disease spread quickly in 2016. The amount of countries which have been infected with the Zika virus increased dramatically.

According to the European Centre for disease prevention and control, a widespread transmission of Zika virus was reported in the following countries in the first months of 2017: American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Bonaire, Brazil, British Virgin Islands (UK), Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada,  Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico, Micronesia, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint-Barthélemy, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Thailand, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States of America (Miami-Dade), US Virgin Islands, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

In Europe, the Zika cases concern diseases imported from abroad. In 2015, 19 European countries have reported 1.265 travel associated Zika virus infections: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. 69 cases affect pregnant women.

On August 26, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for Zika testing of all blood donations in the USA.  

Zika virus is transmitted mainly through bites of infected mosquitoes of the genus of Aedes (also responsible for the transmission of dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever). The virus can also be transmitted through sex. Five countries (Argentina, Canada, Chile, Peru, and the United States of America) in the Americas have reported sexually transmitted Zika cases.

Typically, the symptoms of the disease are fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, and muscle pain. They are often benign and disappear within 2 to 7 days. However, as for pregnant women, Zika virus is suspected to cause congenital disorders, namely microcephaly and neurological disorders of newborns.

So, the Zika virus disease is dangerous mainly for pregnant women and fetus.There is no vaccine against Zika virus. Travelers to these destinations are well advised to avoid mosquito bites (use of repellents, bright and long wear, and mosquito nets) and to protect themselves during sex.

Because of the risk of birth defects, pregnant women will consider the opportunity to keep or cancel any travel to a country that is infected by Zika virus.

For further information about zika virus, see European Centre for disease prevention and control, Pan American Health Organization, and World Health Organization. 

Willgoto, February 7, 2016. Updated March 2017.



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See also

International > Health and safety > Travel health advice (incl. vaccination) from your home country
International > Health and safety > Travel advice and warnings from your home country

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Zika virus can be dangerous for pregnant women. In recent years, it was found in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific outside of the African countries where it has been known for decades.