Thursday 23 February 2017

Zika virus: how to reduce your risk of infection

Severina Raimunda holds her granddaughter Melisa Vitoria, left, who was born with microcephaly and her healthy twin brother Edison Junior at the IMIP hospital in Recife, Brazil. Photo: AP
Severina Raimunda holds her granddaughter Melisa Vitoria, left, who was born with microcephaly and her healthy twin brother Edison Junior at the IMIP hospital in Recife, Brazil. Photo: AP

Zika virus may be passed on via a man's semen during sex.

It means that precautions need to be taken during sex after being potentially exposed to the virus.

Men who visited an affected country should use condoms for a month.

Men who are diagnosed with the virus should use condoms for six months.

Pregnant women or women trying for a child should avoid travelling to infected countries.

Seek advice from a doctor before travelling.

If travelling in an infected country, cover up with a long-sleeved shirt and trousers.

Use insect repellents such as those containing DEET or picaridin.

Apply sunscreen before using insect repellent.

Keep doors and windows closed and use air conditioning.

Sleep under a mosquito net in areas where malaria is a risk.

If you are pregnant and have been in an infected country see your GP and mention your travel history even if you have not been unwell.

Zika virus is diagnosed with a blood test.

Most infected people have no symptoms and if they do they are very mild.

Symptoms can include a low-grade fever, joint pain, itching, rash, red eyes, headache or eye pain.

There is no vaccine and no direct treatment.

More information at www.hpsc.ie/A-Z/Vectorborne/Zika/ or www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice.

Irish Independent

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