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Reducing the risk of Zika transmission

 

​ECDC regularly updates its risk assessment on the Zika virus epidemic. See below the latest update of the risk assessment and a summary of the conclusions and options for mitigation.

 

 ECDC RISK ASSESSMENT

 

Conclusions and options for response

Despite the fact that the Zika virus epidemic is showing signs of a significant slow-down in the Americas and the Caribbean since the last rapid risk assessment in October 2016, the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) Member States should continue to consider a range of options for risk reduction. The predominant mode of transmission for Zika virus is through the bites of infected mosquitoes but the virus can also be transmitted by sexual contact, blood/blood components and possibly other substances of human origin (SoHO). Zika virus infection during pregnancy is associated with intrauterine central nervous system infection, congenital malformations and foetal death. Hence, pregnant women are the main risk group and the primary target for preventive measures. ECDC continues to monitor new scientific evidence and is updating the assessment of the risk and options for response accordingly.

Options for risk reduction

Preventing mosquito transmission
The risk of mosquito-borne transmission can be reduced by applying individual personal protective measures against being bitten and by lowering the mosquito population density. Indoor and outdoor personal protective measures that reduce the risk of mosquito bites include the use of mosquito repellent in accordance with the instructions indicated on the product label, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long trousers, especially during the daytime when Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are most active, and sleeping and resting in screened or air-conditioned rooms or using mosquito bed nets at night and during the day.

Preventing sexual transmission
Zika virus sexual transmission can be prevented by abstaining from sexual contact with a potentially infectious person or consistently using barrier methods during sexual contact with a potentially infectious person.

Safety of substances of human origin
ECDC’s document Zika virus and safety of substances of human origin – Guide for preparedness activities in Europe is currently being updated. The update will cover the risk of Zika virus infection in SoHO donors exposed through sexual contact and changes in the ECDC’s country classification.

Information to travellers and EU residents in affected areas
WHO has published information for travellers visiting Zika-affected countries and developed travel advice for health authorities and healthcare practitioners [4] to provide Member States with options for travel recommendations.
 
Information to healthcare providers in the EU/EEA
EU/EEA Member States should consider the following:
  • Ensure that clinicians and medical practitioners in travel clinics maintain awareness of current Zika virus epidemiology in order to:
    − Conduct accurate pre-travel individual risk assessments and detect Zika virus infections among travellers returning from affected areas. To support this, ECDC is regularly updating a set of maps and lists of affected areas on its website.
    − Consider Zika virus infection in their differential diagnosis for travellers coming from those areas or for symptomatic individuals who have not travelled but have had sexual contact with a person residing in or returning from affected areas, in particular if presenting with Guillain Barré syndrome and other neurological presentations such as meningo-encephalitis, myelitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis
  • Ensure that health professionals providing antenatal care, obstetricians and paediatricians maintain awareness of current Zika virus epidemiology in order to:
    − Identify and investigate pregnant women exposed to Zika virus during their pregnancy (see Algorithm for public health management of cases under investigation for Zika virus infection).
    − Monitor the neurological development of children born to women exposed to or infected by Zika virus during their pregnancy.
  • Ensure timely detection and reporting to the European Surveillance System (TESSy) of cases imported to EU/EEA Member States in order to provide information about areas with ongoing transmission.
 

 ALL UPDATES OF THE RISK ASSESSMENT

 
© European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) 2005 - 2017