Zika virus disease epidemic: potential association with microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome
Stockholm. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
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Main conclusions and options for response Considering the continued rapid spread of Zika virus in the Americas and Caribbean, the growing evidence of an association between Zika virus infection during pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes, the association between Zika virus infection and post-infectious Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS), and the risk of establishment of local vector-borne transmission in Europe during the 2016 summer season, EU/EEA Member States are recommended to consider the following mitigation measures. • Travellers visiting countries where Zika virus is currently being transmitted should be made aware of the ongoing outbreak of Zika virus infection. A list of countries and territories with documented autochthonous transmission during the past two months is maintained on the ECDC website (see also Table 1). • Travellers visiting these countries should use personal preventive measures based on protection against mosquito bites indoors and outdoors, especially from sunrise to sunset when mosquitoes are most active in biting. Such measures include: − using mosquito repellent in accordance with the instructions indicated on the product label. DEET-based repellent is not recommended for children under three months of age but pregnant women can use it. − wearing long-sleeved shirts and long trousers, especially during the hours when the type of mosquito that carries the Zika virus (Aedes) is most active. − sleeping or resting in screened or air-conditioned rooms, otherwise use mosquito nets, even during the day. • Pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant, and who are intending travel to affected areas, should discuss their travel plans and evaluate the risk with their healthcare providers and consider postponing their travel. • Travellers with immune disorders or severe chronic illnesses should consult their doctor or seek advice from a travel clinic before travelling, and be given advice on effective prevention measures. • There is evidence that Zika virus can be transmitted sexually through semen, and there are indications that Zika virus can be present in semen for several weeks after a man has recovered from a Zika virus infection. Travellers to Zika-affected areas should be advised that the risk of sexual transmission from an infected man to another person can be reduced by using condoms. • Travellers showing symptoms compatible with Zika virus disease within three weeks of return from an affected area are advised to contact their healthcare provider and mention their recent travel. • Pregnant women that have travelled in areas with Zika virus transmission should mention their travel.