Zika virus information

WONCA CEO, Dr Garth Manning has recently been in South America preparing for the coming WONCA world conference in Rio. He provides this summary of WHO information on the Zika virus.

The Zika virus is endemic in Brazil and in many other South American countries, and recent news reports have led to some concerns among potential delegates to the forthcoming WONCA World Conference in Rio. The issue was discussed recently with the Host Organizing Committee in Rio de Janeiro, and this advice is given based on their feedback and on the recommendations as provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Rio has experienced some cases of Zika, but the majority of cases have been in the north east of the country. By and large Zika is a mild illness, causing few symptoms, and some patients have been entirely asymptomatic, with their infection only diagnosed by serology. WHO advises that, based on available evidence, there are no general restrictions on travel or trade with countries, areas and/or territories with Zika virus transmission.

However pregnant women should be advised not to travel to areas of ongoing Zika virus outbreaks. Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes, and not by person-to-person contact, though a small number of cases of sexual transmission have been documented.

WHO offers general advice to travellers to help to prevent mosquito bites. This and other information on Zika can be found on the WHO website.

More infomration on Zika from the WHO