This website is part of the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) network

Risk assessment

 

​The full risk assessment [PDF] is available by clicking the link above. A summary of the conclusions is provided below.

Main conclusions and options for response


Event background

Given the continued spread of Zika virus in the Americas and Caribbean; the evidence of an association between Zika virus infection during pregnancy and congenital CNS malformations; the association between Zika virus infection and Guillain–Barré syndrome and the risk of local vector-borne transmission in Europe during the 2016 summer season, EU/EEA Member States are recommended to consider a range of mitigation measures.

The following uncertainties have been taken into consideration in developing the proposed options for response: 

  • There is growing evidence that Zika virus infection during the first and second trimester is associated with increased risk for central nervous system malformation of the foetus. The risk associated with infection during the third trimester is unknown. Therefore, Zika virus infection should be considered as a risk throughout the entire duration of pregnancy. 
  • The presence of viable Zika virus in semen has been detected up to 24 days after onset of Zika virus infection symptoms.
  • The longest interval reported between the onset of symptoms in a male and the subsequent onset of the disease thought to be due to sexual transmission in a female partner is 19 days. 
  • All the currently reported sexual transmission events are linked to symptomatic index cases. There is no evidence of transmission by asymptomatic sexual partners.  

Information for travellers and EU citizens residing in areas with active local transmission 


Travellers visiting countries where there is active transmission of Zika virus and EU citizens residing in these countries should:

  • be made aware of the ongoing outbreak of Zika virus infection and the fact that Zika virus is usually transmitted by mosquito vectors but can be also transmitted by sexual intercourse;
  • take measures to prevent mosquito bites indoors and outdoors, especially between sunrise and sunset when Aedes mosquito vectors are most active and biting. These measures 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 hours when the type of mosquito that is known to transmit the Zika virus (Aedes) is most active.
    − Sleeping or resting in screened or air-conditioned rooms or otherwise use mosquito nets, at night and during the day.
  • Pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant and planning to travel to areas with
    widespread transmission should postpone non-essential travel.
  • Pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant and planning to travel to areas with
    sporadic transmission should consult their physician or a travel clinic and consider postponing nonessential
    travel.
  • Pregnant women residing in countries with active transmission (sporadic and widespread) should consult
    their healthcare providers for advice and follow strict measures to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Travellers with immune disorders or severe chronic illnesses should consult their doctor or seek advice
    from a travel clinic - particularly with regard to effective prevention measures - before travelling to
    countries with active transmission.
  • Travellers to countries with active Zika transmission and EU citizens residing there should be advised that
    using condoms could reduce the risk of sexual transmission through semen.

Information for travellers returning from areas with local transmission of Zika virus.

  • Pregnant women who have travelled or resided in areas with active transmission should mention their
    travel during antenatal visits in order to be assessed and monitored appropriately.
  • In order to protect the foetus, male travellers returning from areas with active transmission should
    consider using a condom with a pregnant partner until the end of pregnancy.
  • Travellers returning from areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission should be advised to use a condom
    for at least one month after returning, in order to reduce the potential risk of onward sexual transmission.
  • Travellers, including those with immune disorders or severe chronic illnesses, showing symptoms
    compatible with Zika virus disease within two weeks of return from an area with active transmission are
    advised to contact their healthcare provider and mention their recent travel.

 Information to healthcare providers in EU Member States

  • Pregnant women who have travelled or resided in areas with active transmission should mention their
    travel during antenatal visits in order to be assessed and monitored appropriately.
  • In order to protect the foetus, male travellers returning from areas with active transmission should
    consider using a condom with a pregnant partner until the end of pregnancy.
  • Travellers returning from areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission should be advised to use a condom
    for at least one month after returning, in order to reduce the potential risk of onward sexual transmission.
  • Travellers, including those with immune disorders or severe chronic illnesses, showing symptoms
    compatible with Zika virus disease within two weeks of return from an area with active transmission are
    advised to contact their healthcare provider and mention their recent travel.
 

 PREVIOUS RISK ASSESSMENTS

 
© European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) 2005 - 2016