Zika virus – information for clinicians and public health practitioners

This page contains information for clinicians and public health practitioners about Zika virus. This is an evolving situation. Monitoring of Zika virus will occur on an ongoing basis with updates to this website as important information comes to hand. Check regularly for the latest information.

Page last updated: 01 December 2016

Zika virus infection is generally a non-severe febrile viral illness transmitted by mosquitoes. Zika virus infection should be considered in people who have recently travelled overseas.

Scientific evidence from outbreaks of Zika virus shows that a Zika virus infection in a pregnant woman can be transmitted to the fetus, and can cause certain congenital abnormalities (including microcephaly). Further studies are required to understand the degree of risk of an adverse outcome occurring and the factors that influence this risk.

Specific travel precautions are recommended for pregnant women or women planning pregnancy who are travelling to a Zika virus affected country.

Zika virus affected countries

Risk categories for Zika virus affected countries (refer to Zika virus affected countries)

The risk assessment for Zika virus transmission in countries uses current and historical information from a range of sources to make an assessment of current transmission of Zika virus.

Risk categories are determined using available surveillance data (which can vary in quality), information on response measures in the affected country, outbreaks occurring in nearby countries and advice from major public health agencies or the World Health Organization.

High risk Countries:

Countries in this risk category have evidence of widespread transmission of Zika virus occurring in the country, increasing the chance that a resident or traveller will be exposed to Zika virus. These countries are usually countries where Zika virus has not been reported before, and Zika virus generally spreads quickly through the population.

Moderate risk countries:

Countries in this risk category have often reported small numbers of cases over an extended period of time. New cases may occasionally be reported. Countries may also be reporting small numbers of cases at the beginning of an outbreak. Some countries may progress to being high risk, while others may remain in moderate risk category or progress to low risk. We do not know the risk of getting Zika virus in these countries, but it is thought to be lower than in high risk countries. However the risk is not zero. Small numbers of cases means that Zika virus transmission is occurring, and is a potential risk for travellers.

Low risk countries:

Low risk countries are those in which Zika virus has been present in the past but there are no reported cases of Zika virus transmission within the last three months. Low levels of unreported Zika virus transmission in these countries is possible, so although the risk remains very low, it is not zero.

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A note on altitude in considering countries

The mosquitoes that spread Zika virus do not usually live at elevations above 2000metres. Travellers who plan to only be in areas above this elevation are at very low risk. Pregnant travellers should be aware of changes to travel plans that take them to lower elevations.

Advice for travellers

Refer to the table Summary table of recommendations regarding Zika virus prevention

Pre-travel advice

All travellers are advised to undertake a pre-travel risk assessment with their doctor.

No vaccine is available for Zika virus.

All travellers should be advised on mosquito bite avoidance measures. Refer to the section on Prevention.

Pre-travel advice for pregnant women

Because Zika virus infection in a pregnant woman may cause severe birth defects, deferral of travel to High Risk countries for these women is recommended. For Moderate risk countries, a pregnant woman should consider deferring travel, based on her individual risk assessment. If the woman does decide to travel, discussion with a doctor about preventing Zika virus transmission from mosquitoes and sexual partners is advised.

Recommendations for pregnant women planning to travel to Low risk countries should be based on an individual risk assessment.

Women planning a pregnancy or at risk of pregnancy should either defer travel as described above, or avoid pregnancy during travel and for at least 8 weeks afterwards.

Post-exposure advice

Testing is recommended for all people who have signs or symptoms of potential Zika virus infection. Testing may also be considered in couples planning pregnancy who have been exposed to Zika. Refer to the section on Laboratory testing, and seek advice from a pathologist on sample type and timing if testing is requested.

Women should avoid pregnancy and unprotected sex for at least 8 weeks following return from a high or moderate risk Zika affected country. This includes women with a diagnosed infection as well as women with no signs of illness. Pregnancy and unprotected sex should be avoided for 6 months if the male partner has also been exposed to Zika virus.

All men and women should follow the recommendations for prevention of sexual transmission that are relevant to their circumstances, refer to Prevention and Summary table of recommendations regarding Zika virus prevention.

Travellers returning to areas of Queensland with suitable mosquitoes to transmit Zika should avoid mosquito bites for 4 weeks after return. Advice to travellers returning from Low Risk countries should be based on an individual risk assessment.

Post-travel advice for pregnant women

Protecting pregnant women or those planning pregnancy is a priority. Pregnant women should avoid unprotected sex with a male partner who has been to a high or moderate risk country for the duration of the pregnancy or for 6 months, whichever is longer. Pregnant women should avoid unprotected sex with a female partner who has been to a high or moderate risk country for 8 weeks.

About Zika virus

Zika virus is a flavivirus, closely related to dengue. It is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of certain infected Aedes species mosquitoes. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are commonly found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world including North Queensland and some areas in Central and Southwest Queensland. Another similar mosquito, Aedes albopictus, also has the potential to transmit Zika virus, but in Australia is only found in the Torres Strait.

Outbreaks of Zika virus have previously been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.1 In 2015, Zika virus emerged in South America with widespread outbreaks reported initially in Brazil and Columbia,2, 3 with spread to many countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean.4

Transmission

Zika virus is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of infective Aedes mosquitoes, most commonly Aedes aegypti. This is the most important mode of transmission.

Multiple instances of probable or confirmed sexual transmission have now been reported, and to date, almost all have involved a symptomatic man transmitting the Zika virus to a woman,5, 6, 7, 8 but female-to-male and male-to-male transmission has also been reported.9, 10 From these cases, it is known that the sexual transmission can occur before, during, or after symptoms. There has been one case of likely sexual transmission from an asymptomatic male.11

The longest reported period between symptom onset and sexual transmission is 32-41 days (based on an incubation period of 3-12 days).12 Zika virus RNA has also been found in the semen of five men more than 90 days after onset, and in one (1) case up to 188 days after onset of infection13,14, 15, 16 Viral RNA has been detected in the genital tract of one women on day 11, and another up to day 13, and was cleared by day 17 in both women.17, 18

To date, there are no reports of infants becoming infected through breastfeeding. The World Health Organization recommends that breastfeeding continues, with benefits for the infant and mother outweighing any potential risk of Zika virus transmission through breast milk.19 Zika virus RNA can be detected in serum usually for a few days to a week. Refer to Blood Donation

Current recommendations are cautious, as evidence about transmission is still emerging.

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Symptoms and signs of Zika virus infection

Approximately one person in five who becomes infected with Zika virus is likely to have symptoms.20 For cases with a clinical illness, symptoms may include one or more of:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Maculopapular rash
  • Arthralgia, notably of small joints of hands and feet, with possible swollen joints
  • Myalgia
  • Headache, retro-ocular headaches
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Post-infection fatigue

More rarely observed symptoms include digestive problems (abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and constipation), mucous membrane ulcerations (aphthae), and pruritus.

Zika virus infection generally causes a non-severe disease. However it does have the potential to cause congenital abnormalities of the fetus in pregnant women, and the chance of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), which are discussed below. As Zika virus infection may cause a rash that could be confused with other diseases such as measles or dengue, these diseases need to be ruled out.

The incubation period is typically 3–12 days.  Acute symptoms typically resolve within 4-7 days.

Complications of Zika virus infection

Zika virus infection in pregnancy

Pregnant women who become infected with Zika virus can transmit the infection to their unborn babies, with potentially serious consequences. Reports from several countries, most notably Brazil, where Zika virus outbreaks have occurred indicate that there has been a subsequent increase in cases of congenital abnormalities, some of which were severe, and include microcephaly.21, 22, 23, 24 Based on current evidence, the risk of congenital abnormalities appears to relate to all trimesters of pregnancy.25, 26, 27 Additional research is necessary and ongoing, to determine the likelihood and spectrum of adverse fetal outcomes associated with Zika virus infection.

For guidance on assessing pregnant women returning from Zika virus affected countries, refer to the Interim recommendations for assessment of pregnant women returning from Zika virus affected countries.

Further information on management of a pregnant woman who has had a positive Zika virus test is available in the RANZCOG guideline Care of women with confirmed Zika virus infection during pregnancy in Australia.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)

Several countries that have experienced Zika virus outbreaks have reported increases in people who have GBS. Research suggests that GBS is associated with Zika virus,28 however only a small proportion of people with recent Zika virus infection get GBS.

It is to be noted that GBS is a known complication of a number of infectious diseases including Campylobacter spp., influenza virus, Epstein - Barr virus, HIV and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. In addition, GBS can occur following surgery or in those with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In rare cases it can be life-threatening in the absence of appropriate care.

Refer to the CDC website for further details.

Diagnosis

Based on the typical clinical features, the differential diagnosis for Zika virus infection is broad. In addition to dengue, other considerations include leptospirosis, malaria, rickettsia, group A streptococcus, rubella, measles, and parvovirus, enterovirus, adenovirus, and alphavirus infections (e.g., Chikungunya, Mayaro, Ross River, Barmah Forest, O’nyong-nyong, and Sindbis viruses).

Preliminary diagnosis is based on the patient’s clinical features, places and dates of travel, and activities. Laboratory diagnosis is generally accomplished by testing serum or plasma to detect virus, viral nucleic acid, or virus-specific immunoglobulin M and neutralizing antibodies.

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Laboratory testing

Zika virus testing is performed at state public health laboratories in Australia. If Zika virus infection is suspected, clinicians are advised to discuss testing with their local pathology provider.

Testing for Zika virus may include IgM, IgG serology and PCR performed on blood, urine, amniotic fluid, cerebrospinal fluid or fetal tissues as appropriate.

  • Acute serum (taken soon after exposure or symptom appearance) and convalescent serum (2 weeks later) should be taken wherever possible. The two samples are important to rule out false positive tests due to cross reactivity with similar viruses such as dengue.
  • Provide overseas travel details and clinical history including the onset day of any symptoms. Onset date is extremely important to ensure that the most appropriate test is performed. Details of any previous flavivirus vaccine (e.g. Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever) or previous flavivirus illness (e.g. West Nile virus, Dengue) can be important for the pathologist in test interpretation.
  • Testing asymptomatic males for Zika virus following travel can be considered if a pregnancy is planned. Serology 4 weeks after the last potential exposure is usually recommended in this situation.
  • A positive Zika result for a male in the context of a couple planning pregnancy will need discussion to  balance the benefits of waiting 6 months to conceive with the limited evidence available and the costs of delaying pregnancy.

For further information, refer to Information for travellers about Zika virus testing

Testing for Zika virus infection should be considered in the following situations:

ALL SYMPTOMATIC INDIVIDUALS with EITHER

  • A history of travel within the last 2 weeks to a Zika virus affected country OR
  • A history of sexual exposure(vaginal/oral/anal) to a person diagnosed with Zika virus OR
  • A history of sexual exposure(vaginal/oral/anal) to a person who has travelled to a Zika virus affected country

ASYMPTOMATIC PREGNANT WOMEN who

  • Have travelled to a Zika virus affected country OR
  • Have had sexual exposure to a traveller from a high or moderate risk Zika virus affected country.

Refer to Interim recommendations for assessment of pregnant women returning from Zika virus affected countries.

ASYMPTOMATIC MEN or WOMEN who

  • Have travelled to a high or moderate risk Zika virus affected country AND
  • Are unable to wait the recommended duration for avoiding pregnancy or unprotected sex

Refer to Summary recommendations regarding Zika virus prevention for the relevant time periods.

Travellers to low risk countries should have an individual risk assessment to see if testing is indicated.

Testing is NOT advised for asymptomatic travellers where neither they nor their partner is pregnant or at risk of pregnancy.

For asymptomatic people, serological testing should occur at least 4 weeks after the last day in a Zika virus affected country. It may be advisable to also collect samples from an earlier date. False positive and false negatives can occur, however a negative result can be reassuring. A positive Zika result in the context of a couple planning pregnancy will need careful discussion to balance the benefits of waiting 6 months to conceive with the limited evidence available and the costs of delaying pregnancy.

Testing for Zika virus can be difficult to interpret, please discuss with pathologist at the time of test request to ensure correct testing is ordered and adequate information is given to the pathologist.

Management and Treatment

No specific antiviral treatment is available for Zika virus. Treatment is generally supportive and can include rest, fluids, and use of analgesics and antipyretics. Due to similar geographic distribution and symptoms, patients with suspected Zika virus infection also should be evaluated and managed for possible dengue or chikungunya virus infection. Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of haemorrhage.

There is a risk of transmission of Zika virus from infected returning travellers in areas of North Queensland where a suitable vector (Aedes aegypti) exists and is currently considered dengue receptive. In these areas, public health authorities follow up on notified cases to mitigate the risk of local transmission. Cases in areas where transmission could occur will be advised to take additional measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

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Prevention

Refer also to Summary table of recommendations regarding Zika virus prevention

There is no vaccine for Zika virus infection. Prevention relies on avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes in countries where Zika virus occurs. Safe sex practices are also important in preventing sexual transmission.

Pre-travel advice

Individual Risk assessment

All travellers are advised to undertake a pre-travel risk assessment with their doctor. This should include evaluation of:

  1. whether the individual or their sexual partner is at increased risk of congenital complications of Zika virus infection
    • Pregnant
    • Not using reliable contraception
    • Planning pregnancy
    • Partner pregnant
    • Partner at risk of pregnancy
  2. potential exposure 
    • The risk level of the country/countries travelling to or living in
    • The length of time in the country/countries
    • Having unprotected sex
    • The likelihood of mosquito bites:
Higher likelihood of mosquito bites Lower likelihood of mosquito bites
  • Wet season or area with year round breeding sites
  • Time outside during the day between dawn and dusk (including urban environments)
  • Time indoors, including overnight, is spent in in environments that allow mosquito access (such as open windows and doors/breeding sites inside/tents/gaps in walls/no screens)
  • Not using insect repellents or protective clothing
  • Dry season
  • Altitude above 2,000m throughout travel
  • Minimal time outside
  • Time indoors, including overnight, is spent in environments that prevent mosquito access
  • Strict use of mosquito repellent and protective clothing
  1. The level of comfort the individual has with risk, perceived risk or uncertainty
  2. If the individual is returning to north Queensland and post travel mosquito precautions are required.
  3. The likelihood of sexual transmission of Zika virus following return
  4. Any other factors relevant to the individual

Relevant advice regarding Zika virus can then be tailored to the individual in addition to usual travel advice.

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Avoiding mosquito bites

All travellers are advised to take the following mosquito bite prevention measures when travelling to a Zika virus affected country or wherever mosquito borne diseases are present. These precautions are necessary in the daytime as well as night time.

  • Cover as much exposed skin as possible, including wearing light coloured long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use insect repellents, per manufacturer’s instructions. The most effective mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or picaridin. Repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) (also known as Extract of Lemon Eucalyptus) or para menthane diol (PMD) also provide adequate protection. Note that 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 using both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
  • Use insecticide-treated (such as permethrin) clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents).
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.
  • Use bed nets as necessary.

Avoiding mosquito bites after return

On return from a high or medium risk ‘Zika affected’ country people who live in or travel to areas of Australia where dengue outbreaks can occur should avoid mosquito-bites for 4 weeks following their return by strictly following mosquito bite prevention measures (refer to section “Mosquito bites” above). This is to help prevent spread from a traveller to the local mosquito population.

Preventing Sexual transmission

These recommendations are based on the evidence from published studies about the longest known time periods for persistence of Zika virus RNA in semen and in the female genital tract, and on the longest known time periods from onset to sexual transmission, refer to the section Transmission. The advice differs somewhat from the current advice of the World Health Organization,29 particularly with respect to periods of safe sex and pregnancy deferral for women, but the WHO has noted their recommendations are conservative and based on the lack of data on duration of persistence and infectivity.

To minimise the risk of sexual transmission to a pregnant woman:

Pregnant women should avoid unprotected sex with a male partner who has been to a High or Moderate riskZika virus affected’ country for the duration of the pregnancy, or for 6 months, whichever is longer.

Pregnant women should avoid unprotected sex with a female partner who has been to a High or Moderate riskZika virus affected’ country for at least 8 weeks.

Women who are planning or at risk of pregnancy should be advised to avoid pregnancy during travel to a high or moderate risk ‘Zika-affected’ country and should avoid unprotected sex and pregnancy for at least 8 weeks following return.  Advice relating to a partner who has travelled also applies.

For men with a partner who is planning pregnancy or at risk of pregnancy and who have travelled to a high or moderate risk ‘Zika virus affected’ country or has a confirmed Zika infection (clinical or laboratory), pregnancy should be deferred for least 6 months after return, or 6 months after the date that Zika virus infection was diagnosed.

Anyone who is planning a pregnancy should be offered advice about the possibility of testing to help exclude Zika virus infection, particularly if there are concerns about the consequences of delaying pregnancy for the recommended time periods. Refer to Laboratory testing.

It should be noted that a range of communicable diseases pose particular risks for pregnant women (such as malaria) and Zika virus is only one consideration.

To minimise the risk of sexual transmission for all other men and women:

  • If a female partner has travelled or been potentially exposed, avoid unprotected sex for at least 8 weeks after the last day in a high or moderate risk ‘Zika virus affected’ country or for 8 weeks after diagnosis.
  • If a male partner has travelled or been potentially exposed, avoid unprotected sex for at least 6 months after the last day in a high or moderate risk Zika virus affected’ country if no symptoms appear, or at least 6 months from time of diagnosis of infection.

A reliable method of contraception should be used to avoid pregnancy.

Advice to travellers returning from Low Risk countries should be based on an individual risk assessment.

Do not donate sperm for at least 6 months from the time of last exposure or time of diagnosis.

Notes:

  • For some couples where pregnancy is not a risk, and they do not reside in areas of Queensland where the vector is present, a longer or shorter period of abstinence from unprotected sex may be appropriate depending on an individual’s risk assessment and tolerance.
  • Serological tests may be used to exclude infection in asymptomatic couples planning pregnancy.
  • Unprotected sex refers to any form of sex that exposes the other person to genital secretions including vaginal, oral and anal. Barriers such as male or female condoms may be used to prevent Zika virus transmission.
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Advice for residents of Zika virus affected countries who are planning a pregnancy

An individual risk assessment with a doctor should be undertaken as part of pregnancy planning for all women residing in a Zika virus affected country. This should include a discussion of the risks and an evaluation of the likelihood of contracting Zika virus in the woman and her partner. This will be based on information such as risk status of the area they reside in, travel, seasonal factors, accommodation type, activities undertaken, exposure to mosquitoes and other individual factors. The possibility of past Zika virus infection may also be relevant to a couple and testing may be available in some countries to help determine this.

A woman should defer pregnancy for at least 8 weeks following confirmed or clinical Zika virus infection.

If the male partner has had a confirmed Zika virus infection, defer pregnancy and unprotected sex for at least 6 months after diagnosis.

Refer to the CDC Interim guidance for health care providers caring for women of reproductive age with possible Zika virus exposure for further details.

Blood Donation

For the latest information for health professionals on blood products and transfusion practice, refer to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service website.

Case Deferral

A person who has been to a Zika virus affected country should defer donation of blood for 4 weeks after they have returned if they do not have symptoms of Zika virus infection.

A person diagnosed with Zika virus infection should be advised that they cannot donate blood for a minimum of 4 months after recovery of all symptoms.

Sexual Contact Deferral

A sexual contact of a person diagnosed with Zika virus infection should be advised that they cannot donate blood for a minimum of 4 weeks after sexual contact (vaginal, oral, or anal) with someone who:

  • Has current Zika virus infection; or
  • Has recovered from Zika virus infection in the preceding 6 months.

Reporting

Zika virus infection is notifiable in Australia as a flavivirus (unspecified) infection and should be notified to state and territory health departments. To guide reporting, the surveillance case definition is located on the Department of Health website.

In North Queensland and parts of Central and Southwest Queensland where mosquito vectors are present, clinicians should immediately report clinically suspected cases of Zika virus infection to local public health units, as they do for suspected cases of dengue.

Public health management of a laboratory confirmed case

People infected with Zika virus should be protected from further mosquito exposure during the first few days of illness to prevent other mosquitoes from becoming infected and reduce the risk of local transmission.

In Australia, this is relevant to confirmed cases in Queensland. Confirmed cases who are not residents in Queensland should be advised to avoid travel to these areas until their symptoms have resolved.

In parts of Queensland where the Aedes vector is known to be present, public health vector control teams may respond to reduce the risk of local transmission. Outside these areas in Queensland, notification is the required public health action.

People infected Zika virus infection should follow recommendations to prevent sexual transmission (refer to Summary recommendations regarding Zika virus prevention)

Further information is available:

  • For a list of countries with current and recent outbreaks of Zika virus, a fact sheet for the general public, guidelines for prevention of sexual transmission and interim guidelines for assessment of pregnant women, refer to the Department of Health webpage.
  • European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control – Zika virus infection.
  • For the latest travel advice refer to the Smartraveller website.
  • To notify clinically suspected Zika virus infection in Queensland, contact the local public health unit.

Summary table of recommendations regarding Zika virus prevention

Travel precautions for ALL TRAVELLERS to Zika virus affected countries

  • Strictly follow good mosquito bite precautions, avoid pregnancy and avoid unprotected sex (vaginal, oral and anal)

Notes:

  • The goals of this advice are to prevent a pregnant woman from becoming infected with Zika virus, and to prevent sexual transmission of Zika virus to any sexual partners.
  • All people with symptoms consistent with a Zika virus infection should be tested as appropriate. Discussion with a pathologist is advised.
  • Seek advice from a pathologist on sample type and timing if testing asymptomatic people is considered.
  • Unless specified, partner refers to male or female partner
  • Low risk countries - Advice to travellers to low risk countries is determined by individual risk assessment. Advice for travellers to moderate and high risk countries may also be tailored based on the outcomes of an individual risk assessment. Follow advice relevant to risk.
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Traveller Travel Advice Pregnancy advice Sexual transmission advice Testing
Pregnant female Defer travel to high risk countries. Consider deferring travel to Moderate risk countries. If travelling, follow Zika virus travel precautions. Avoid unprotected sex while travelling in a Zika virus affected country. Avoid unprotected sex for the duration of pregnancy or for 6 months (whichever is longer) with a male partner who has travelled to a ‘Zika virus affected’ country. Avoid unprotected sex for 8 weeks with a female partner who has travelled to a ‘Zika virus affected’ country. Testing should be offered to all pregnant women who have potentially been exposed to Zika virus, either through travel or sex.

Female planning or at risk of pregnancy (of childbearing age and not using reliable contraception)

Defer travel to high risk countries or defer pregnancy. Consider deferring travel to moderate risk countries or defer pregnancy. If travelling, follow Zika virus travel precautions. Avoid pregnancy while travelling in high or moderate risk countries. Avoid pregnancy for at least 8 weeks after the last day in a high or moderate risk ‘Zika virus affected’ country or for 8 weeks after diagnosis. Advice relating to a partner who has travelled also applies. Avoid unprotected sex for at least 8 weeks after the last day in a high or moderate risk ‘Zika virus affected’ country or for 8 weeks after diagnosis. Advice relating to a partner who has travelled also applies.
Testing of asymptomatic females planning pregnancy can be considered at least 4 weeks after the last day in a ‘Zika virus affected’ country.
Females not at risk of pregnancy Follow Zika virus travel precautions. To minimise the risk of sexual transmission, avoid unprotected sex for at least 8 weeks after the last day in a high or moderate risk ‘Zika virus affected’ country or for 8 weeks after diagnosis. Test if symptoms develop
Male with a pregnant partner Follow Zika virus travel precautions. Avoid unprotected sex for the duration of the pregnancy or for 6 months after the last day in a high or moderate risk ‘Zika virus affected’ country or 6 months after diagnosis, whichever is longer. Testing of asymptomatic men can be considered at least 4 weeks after the last day in a ‘Zika virus affected’ country.
Male with a partner planning or at risk of pregnancy Follow Zika virus travel precautions. Avoid pregnancy for at least 6 months after the date of return from a high or moderate risk country or 6 months from time of diagnosis of infection. Avoid unprotected sex for at least 6 months after the last day in a high or moderate risk Zika virus affected’ country if no symptoms appear, or at least 6 months from time of diagnosis of infection. Testing of asymptomatic men can be considered at least 4 weeks after the last day in a ‘Zika virus affected’ country if pregnancy is planned.
Male with a partner not at risk of pregnancy Follow Zika virus travel precautions. To minimise the risk of sexual transmission, avoid unprotected sex for at least 6 months after the last day in a high or moderate risk Zika virus affected’ country, or at least 6 months from time of diagnosis of infection. Test if symptoms develop.
Sperm Donor Follow Zika virus travel precautions. Do not donate sperm for at least 6 months from the time of last exposure or from time of diagnosis. Do not donate sperm for at least 6 months from the time of last exposure or time of diagnosis. Testing could be considered at least 4 weeks after the last day in a ‘Zika virus affected’ country if pregnancy is planned.
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References

  1. Pan American Health Organization WHO. Neurological syndrome, congenital malformations, and Zika virus infection. Implications for public health in the Americas. 2015.
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  4. World Health Organization. Situation Report - Zika Virus, Microcephaly, Guillian Barre Syndrome; 2016.
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  16. Nicastri E, Castilletti C, Liuzzi G, Iannetta M, Capobianchi MR, Ippolito G. Persistent detection of Zika virus RNA in semen for six months after symptom onset in a traveller returning from Haiti to Italy, February 2016. Euro Surveill 2016;21(32).
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  21. de Oliveira CS dCVP. Microcephaly and Zika virus. Jornal de pediatria. 2016;92(2):103-5. Epub 2016/04/03.
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