News story

Zika virus: data update

PHE has updated the number of cases of Zika infection diagnosed in the UK which includes the first likely UK case of sexual transmission.

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Public Health England (PHE) believes that the woman was infected by a partner who had recently visited an area where there is active Zika transmission. She has since made a full recovery.

The update also included the number of pregnant women with Zika infection since the beginning of the outbreak in early 2015.

Professor Dilys Morgan, Zika Incident Director at PHE said:

It is important to remember that the main risk relates to travellers to countries classified as high or moderate risk for Zika infection. Zika infection is usually a mild, self-limiting illness, and PHE’s advice is based on the fact that our main concern is to avoid infection in pregnancy, in order to avoid risk to the unborn child.

Sexual transmission of Zika virus is not common, and the mosquito which transmits the virus is not present in the UK. Travellers should follow PHE’s advice on bite prevention while in affected areas. PHE advises all male travellers regardless of symptoms to avoid conception and use condoms and other barrier methods during sexual activities for 6 months following return from a Zika high or moderate risk country. Women who have travelled to an area regarded as high or moderate Zika virus risk, should avoid conception and use condoms or other barrier methods for 8 weeks after leaving the area.

The number of known UK cases as at 30 November 2016 are provided below. See cases diagnosed in the uk for latest figures, updated monthly.

Known UK Zika cases 265
Number of pregnant women diagnosed with Zika virus 7
Number of sexually transmitted cases 1 (likely)

Dr Dipti Patel, director at NaTHNaC said:

As we move towards holiday season with increased numbers of people visiting friends and relatives in Zika affected areas, we recommend that all travellers seek out the latest travel health advice. This particularly applies to pregnant women going to an area with active Zika virus transmission who should ensure they seek travel health advice from their GP or a travel clinic well in advance of their trip and consult the NaTHNaC website for up to date information on current outbreaks and country information.

We strongly advise all travellers to avoid mosquito bites and urge pregnant women to postpone non-essential travel to areas reporting high Zika transmission. If travel to these areas is unavoidable, or if they live in areas where Zika virus transmission is occurring, they should take scrupulous insect bite avoidance measures.

Women who are planning to become pregnant and their partners should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess the risk of infection with Zika virus and receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures. Tailored advice for pregnancy and travel is available at NaTHNaC’s website.

Published 30 November 2016