Updated guidance on Zika virus for travellers

05 March 2019

Article: 53/904

Zika virus (ZIKV) was first noted in the Americas in 2015 and since then the epidemiology and understanding of ZIKV infection has evolved considerably, particularly with respect to congenital Zika syndrome and sexual transmission of ZIKV. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and public health authorities across the UK have reviewed the evidence available to date, and modified the advice for travellers accordingly.

In response to these changes, the advice for travellers on TRAVAX, fitfortravel and the HPS website has been updated. The main changes of note are:

  • Men are advised to reduce the risk of sexual transmission of ZIKV by the use of contraception and condoms during travel and for three months afterwards (previously six months).
  • The risk of Zika for an affected country will now be detailed on the individual country pages of TRAVAX under ‘Other Diseases Risk to Consider’, including the advice for pregnant travellers and travellers considering pregnancy.

The main advice for travellers to countries with a risk of ZIKV transmission is to ensure they have:

  • appropriate mosquito bite avoidance measures
  • travel insurance

Travellers to countries at risk of ZIKV transmission should avoid the risk of sexual transmission of ZIKV by the use of contraception and condoms during travel and for:

  • two months afterwards if female
  • three months afterwards if male

Pregnant travellers are advised to:

  • Postpone non-essential travel to a country at high risk of ZIKV transmission, as detailed on the individual country pages of TRAVAX and fitfortravel.
  • Consider postponing non-essential travel to a country at moderate risk of ZIKV transmission, as detailed on the individual country pages of TRAVAX and fitfortravel.