13 May 2016

Definition for areas with active Zika virus transmission amended

The definition used by Public Health England, NaTHNaC and Health Protection Scotland for areas with active Zika virus transmission was amended on 12 May 2016 Definition for areas with active Zika virus transmission amended

Previously, the definition specified that for a country or overseas territory to be classified as having current active Zika virus transmission there must be: confirmed autochthonous (locally acquired) cases, acquired by vector borne transmission only, that have been reported by health authorities within the last 2 months.

From the 12 May 2016, the definition will be amended as follows: “For a country or overseas territory to be classified as having current active Zika virus transmission there must be: confirmed autochthonous (locally acquired) cases, acquired by vector borne transmission only, that have been reported by Health authorities within the last 3 months.“ This amendment will be reflected on the NaTHNaC website in the coming days.

This change recognises the availability and quality of current Zika surveillance systems in countries with limited access to testing facilities in the affected area. The advantages of this move include a longer time frame in which to allow reporting of cases, particularly for those countries reporting sporadic cases, and a reduction of risk of countries being removed from the active transmission list while still having, although not reporting, active transmission of Zika virus, such as has been recently observed with Paraguay.

This revised definition will better inform public health and travel advice, particularly in relation to pregnant women, and will also bring the definition used by Public Health England, NaTHNaC and Health Protection Scotland for countries with current active transmission in line with advice issued by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

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