Richmond Practice - Zika and its effects in pregnancy

Zika and its effects in pregnancy

The ZIKA virus has been demonstrated to be responsible for brain malformations such as microcephaly in fetuses/babies. Studies in Brazil published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed substantial evidence to confirm this hypothesis.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Centre for Disease Control (CDC) subsequently published guidelines for people travelling to countries where transmission via mosquitos is possible. However transmission is also possible via sexual contact, just like other STI's as HIV, Syphilis or Chlamydia for example. So far there have only been a few cases in the UK where people were infected with ZIKA just by sexual contact without having travelled.

The Guidelines also advise to avoid pregnancy if a ZIKA infection has been possible because of travel into countries where the virus is endemic and transmitted by the Aedes mosquitoes.

What can you do to minimize your risk?
It is best to avoid travelling to areas where ZIKA transmission is endemic. There is a list of countries available at the following link: This list can change so it is advisable to check this list before you plan your next summer holiday.

If you have travelled to an area where transmission of ZIKA is active you ought to practice safer sex (with condoms) or abstinence for a period of six months for men and women who are returning from areas with active transmission to prevent ZIKA virus infection through sexual intercourse. This is even more important if your partner is pregnant.

Consult your doctor if
  • You have red eyes, muscle pain, fever or/ and headaches and if you travelled to an Zika infected area.
  • For a blood test or test on other body fluids, such as urine, saliva or semen to confirm a Zika virus diagnosis.
At Elsbeth's Doctors we test for Zika and we also offer a travel clinic and travel risk assessments for business and leisure travelers and in pregnancy. For a same day appointment please contact us on 030 0303 5009 or at For more information visit


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