CHP closely monitors latest WHO Zika update

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (August 12) closely monitoring the latest Zika virus update of the World Health Organization (WHO), and again urged the public to adopt strict anti-mosquito measures and safe sex during travel. Pregnant women and those planning pregnancy should not travel to affected areas.

     "We expect more travellers to return to town before the summer vacation ends and those from the Olympics in Brazil where Zika and dengue viruses are prevalent. We are facing risks of importation of these vector-borne diseases. All sectors should step up efforts on mosquito control and members of the public should use insect repellents to protect themselves, their families and the community," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     The Cayman Islands recently reported locally acquired mosquito-borne Zika Virus Infection. To date, 69 countries/areas have documented mosquito-borne transmission since 2007 while 11 have reported evidence of person-to-person transmission, probably by sexual contact. The public may visit the CHP's website for more details about affected areas.

     "We are maintaining close liaison with the WHO as well as overseas, neighbouring and Mainland health authorities to closely monitor the latest developments," the spokesman said.

     To prevent Zika Virus Infection, in addition to general anti-mosquito measures, the DH draws the public's attention to the special notes below:

A. Travelling abroad
  • If going to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission (affected areas), travellers, especially those with immune disorders or severe chronic illnesses, should arrange consultation with a doctor at least six weeks before the trip, and take extra preventive measures to avoid mosquito bites;
  • Those arriving from affected areas should apply insect repellent for at least 21 days upon arrival. If feeling unwell, such as having a fever, seek medical advice as soon as possible, and provide travel details to the doctor;
  • Travellers should consider not having sex during travel to affected areas, or else condoms should be used;
  • Travellers returning from affected areas should consider abstinence for at least two months upon return, or else condoms should be used. If diagnosed with Zika Virus Infection or having compatible symptoms, they should consider abstinence for at least six months upon onset, or else condoms should be used;

B. Pregnant women and those preparing for pregnancy
  • Pregnant women and those preparing for pregnancy should not travel to affected areas. Those who must travel should seek medical advice from their doctor before the trip, adopt contraception if appropriate, strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip, and consult and reveal their travel history to their doctor if symptoms develop after the trip;
  • Women preparing for pregnancy are advised to continue to adopt contraception for at least two months after returning from affected areas if they have no symptoms of Zika Virus Infection, or six months if one or both members of the couple are symptomatic;

C. Special notes for prevention of sexual transmission regarding adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Pregnant women should not have sex with partners who have travelled to affected areas, or else condoms should be used;
  • Travellers returning from affected areas should:
  1. Abstain from sex with pregnant partners, or else use condoms throughout the pregnancy; and
  2. Use condoms for at least six months if female partners may get pregnant.

     The public may visit the following pages for more disease information and health advice: the Zika Page of the CHP and the DH's Travel Health Service, the Outbound Travel Alert page of the Security Bureau, anti-mosquito precautions for women, and the WHO Zika virus situation reports.

Ends/Friday, August 12, 2016
Issued at HKT 11:59