A new virus called Zika virus has been spreading rapidly across South America and now poses a significant threat to travellers to there. Brazil, Mexico and a number of Caribbean countries are affected by the outbreak. The virus is contracted through mosquito bites and although the infection itself tends to be mild and usually only lasts 2 to 7 days it has significant complications particularly for women who are pregnant or who might become pregnant. The main risks appear to be to unborn children where it is thought to cause stillbirth and early neonatal deaths. It has also been linked to a condition called microcephaly in babies which leaves them with significant physical and intellectual disabilities.
As there is no known cure of Zika virus travellers to affected areas need to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. If you are intending travelling to Africa, South East Asia, the Caribbean or South America over the next few months please make an appointment to discuss your risk and preventative steps with us. Further information on the virus can be obtained by clicking here.