News story

Planes from Zika areas no longer need to use insecticide

The UK government is no longer asking airlines spray insecticide in aircraft arriving from Zika-affected areas.

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Zika infected cells

The Zika virus outbreak is being carefully monitored by Public Health England, and the risk to the UK remains very low. Taking account of the new evidence and consulting with specialists, the UK government has reviewed its insect control policy and is no longer asking airlines to carry out disinsection on aircraft arriving from Zika-affected areas.

Disinsection involves spraying insecticide inside the aircraft to reduce the risk of passengers being bitten by any mosquitoes that could have entered the aircraft.

Airlines may wish to continue this practice on a voluntary basis – as a number have done for many years from regions where malaria is prevalent.

If you’re travelling to a Zika-affected area :

  • avoid mosquito bites by using repellent with at least 50% DEET and covering up with long sleeved clothing
  • before booking travel, pregnant women, women planning pregnancy within 6 months following travel and their partners should check the specific risk of Zika for their destination and consider any travel advisories

More travel advice about the Zika virus is also available on the Travel Health Pro website from the National Travel Health Network and Centre.

The government will continue to focus on:

  • raising awareness about the need to protect yourself against Zika
  • providing advice for people considering travelling to Zika infected areas including how to avoid mosquito bites, preventing sexual transmission and giving tailored advice for pregnant women
  • making sure people with symptoms who have been to Zika infected areas get the right tests and treatment
  • providing funding for vaccine development
  • providing funding to help other, more at risk countries develop their Zika response
Published 19 September 2016