Due to morbidity caused by Zika virus – the Ministry of Health recommends that persons travelling to South and Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands utilize means of reducing the risk for mosquito bites, especially pregnant women Zika Fever
Zika fever is a disease transmitted via mosquito bites, and manifests as fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. In rare instances, there could be neurological complications, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome. Additionally, it is suspected that infection with this disease during pregnancy could cause severe neurological defects, including microcephaly.
The Zika virus belongs to the Flaviviridae family. The infection is transmitted via the bites of infected mosquitos (species Aedes albopictus, Aedes aegypti) during the daytime. Additionally, transmission of the infection has been reported perinatally (around the time of childbirth), through sexual relations and via blood transfusion from a symptom-free donor. The incubation period is approximately 3 to 12 days.
One person out of 5 develops clinical symptoms as follows: acute illness with fever accompanied by maculopapular rash and/or joint pain (sometimes with swelling) and/or conjunctivitis. The patient may develop muscle pain, headache, pain of the ocular orbit (retro orbital pain) and vomiting. The illness is usually mild, continues for a few days to a week and passes with no complications. Severe illness requiring hospitalization is rare. A number of patients have also been reported suffering from Guillain-Barre syndrome.
There is no specific treatment or vaccine for the infection, but rather only supportive treatment.
In recent days, suspicion has been raised of a possible link between infection caused by Zika virus in pregnant women and microcephaly of the fetus. The Brazilian Ministry of Health has reported an unusual increase in cases of microcephaly following an outbreak of the disease in the country. French Polynesia is reporting an increase in congenital defects of the nervous system. Additionally, a possible link is being investigated between infection caused by Zika virus and Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) in Brazil and in French Polynesia. Update of Epidemiological Status
International health organizations (CDC, ECDC, WHO) are reporting the continued spread of Zika fever in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Recently, spread of the disease has been reported to new areas in South and Central America including the Caribbean Islands, such as Venezuela, Panama, Honduras, Martinique and French Guiana.
The regions currently affected by Zika virus are: South and Central America including the Caribbean Islands, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and Central and Western Africa including Cape Verde
– in the Cape Verde islands, 4,800 suspected cases have been reported so far.
(See table for a full list of endemic countries*).
Recommendations of the Ministry of Health
There is no warning against travel to countries where Zika virus is endemic. Thus far, there have been no reports of patients suffering from infection caused by Zika virus in Israel.
Due to the risk of the transmission of various infections following mosquito bites, the Ministry of Health advises persons travelling to South and Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia or the Pacific Islands, particularly pregnant women, to utilize methods for reducing the risk of mosquito bite, such as applying mosquito repellent, wearing long sleeved shirts, long trousers, a hat, sleeping in rooms that are netted and sprayed or air conditioned, or under a mosquito net sprayed with anti-mosquito insecticide.
Countries with past or present Zika virus transmission, CDC, December 2015
*Countries with past or present Zika virus transmission, CDC, December 2015
Central and South America (including the Caribbean Islands)
Central and Western Africa
Central African Republic
**For these countries, the only evidence of Zika virus transmission is from studies that detected Zika virus antibodies in healthy people. These studies cannot determine where the people became infected or whether they were infected with Zika virus, because the antibodies could also be produced as the result of infection with other overlapping viruses, such as dengue virus.