Zika Virus and Pregnancy


04-Feb-2016

Advice from the Department of Health website (updated 29 January 2016)

There are concerns that pregnant women who become infected with Zika virus could transmit the disease to their unborn babies, with potentially serious consequences, although no causal link has yet been established. Reports from several countries, most notably Brazil, where Zika virus outbreaks are occurring, indicate that there has been a concurrent increase in severe congenital abnormalities such as microcephaly. Additional research is necessary and ongoing to determine whether there is a causal link between Zika virus and adverse foetal outcomes.

Until more is known about Zika virus, and taking a cautious approach, we advise women who are pregnant (in any trimester) or who plan to become pregnant to consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing refer to the Department of Health webpage. If women do decide to travel, they are advised to talk to their doctor first and strictly follow mosquito bite prevention measures.

Women who are pregnant and travelled to areas where there was ongoing Zika virus transmission at the time of travel, and who suffered an illness that is suspected to be Zika, are advised to see a doctor.

Prevention

All travellers are advised to take the following mosquito bite prevention measures when travelling to areas currently affected by Zika virus or wherever mosquito borne diseases are present. These precautions are necessary in the daytime as well as night time.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants;
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin. Always use as directed;
  • Insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin, are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children older than 2 months when used according to the product label;
  • If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent;
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents);
  • Use bed nets as necessary;
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.