25 Jul 2016

Revision of UK Zika virus pre-travel guidance

Four categories of Zika virus risk area have been defined, with separate advice/recommendations for travellers Revision of UK Zika virus pre-travel guidance

The country specific Zika virus (ZIKV) advice for travellers has been updated to better reflect higher and lower risk based on epidemiological information. Four categories of risk area have been defined (as shown in Table 1 below).

Our Country Information pages have been amended accordingly to reflect the new categories and corresponding advice for travellers and pregnant women. Relevant details can be found in the ‘other risks’ tab on the country page.

Table 1: Overview of revised Zika virus risk based pre-travel advice

Country risk ratingTravel advice for pregnant women
High Pregnant women should postpone non-essential travel until after pregnancy. All pregnant women planning to travel should seek advice from their healthcare provider 4 to 6 weeks before travel for an individual risk assessment
Moderate Pregnant women should consider postponing non-essential travel until after pregnancy. All pregnant women planning to travel should seek advice from their healthcare provider 4 to 6 weeks before travel for an individual risk assessment
Low No Zika specific advisory. All pregnant women planning to travel should seek advice from their healthcare provider 4 to 6 weeks before travel for an individual risk assessment and to discuss the low risk
Very low No Zika specific advisory. All pregnant women planning to travel should seek advice from their healthcare provider 4 to 6 weeks before travel for an individual risk assessment

The following details have been used to categorise countries risk level:

  • current epidemiology (as provided by European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC) and other epidemic intelligence activities)
  • proximity to outbreak regions (currently defined as South and Central America, the Caribbean and the Pacific),
  • historical population level exposure to Zika virus and
  • surveillance and response to other insect borne disease outbreaks e.g. dengue virus.
For further information on risk based travel advice, see risk based approach to Zika virus transmission and travel advice

Advice for travellers

There is currently no vaccine or drug to prevent Zika virus infection. Specific advice for each country can be found on our Country Information pages in the ‘other risks’ section.

General information on Zika virus can also be found on our website along with a leaflet on insect bite avoidance.

Advice for health professionals

A comprehensive risk assessment should be undertaken for any traveller going to areas with active Zika virus transmission. See information on factors that health professionals should consider when assessing the risk of infection with Zika virus infection.

An algorithm is available showing the advice for those who are planning a pregnancy, pregnant women and their partners,

Zika should be considered among the differential diagnoses of patients with fever, or other symptoms suggestive of Zika virus infection, returning from countries with active Zika transmission. Further information about diagnosis is available from Public Health England.

Resources

Annual Report 2015 - 2016

NaTHNaC publishes its Annual Report 2015 - 2016 Read more

Avian influenza: worldwide update

An update on human cases of avian influenza viruses worldwide Read more

Zika: cases diagnosed in the United Kingdom

Public Health England publishes an update on cases of Zika virus diagnosed in the United Kingdom Read more

Polio: Public Health Emergency of International Concern update

An update on the polio Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) Read more

Zika virus: advice on the prevention of sexual transmission

Public Health England has revised guidance for men who have travelled in or returned from an area of high or moderate Zika virus risk Read more
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