Zika Virus Outbreak

Megan Reilly

The World Health Organization has released a global health alert regarding Zika Virus. Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director General, has advised that Zika Virus is a serious global health concern and with highly likely global spread. Moreover, particular concerns have been raised regarding the maternal-fetal effects of the virus.

The Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC) President Professor Ramon Shaban reports that “While the current evidence indicates that the vast majority of patients infected with Zika Virus are asymptomatic, and that symptomatic disease is generally mild, there are concerns regarding the effect of the virus on pregnant women and their foetuses. The very limited data available suggests that pregnant woman are no more susceptible to Zika virus infection or experience more severe disease during pregnancy than other patients. With no treatment or specific prophylaxis available it is important for those who are particularly at risk, namely pregnant women, to reconsider travel to endemic areas. Those in endemic areas should to take precautions to avoid the mosquito-transmitted infection. It is important for pregnant women to consult their obstetrician and healthcare team to discuss the risks of transmission and infection and any concerns that they or their family has. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other authoritative global health agencies have released comprehensive guidelines for health professionals and the public.”

See the links provided below to obtain the latest information, as well as information provided by the various jurisdictions across Australasia.

WHO Zika Virus http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/index.html

Australian Government Smart Traveller https://smartraveller.gov.au/bulletins/zika_virus

Australian Government Department of Health Warnings