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GHA issues Zika advice

The Zika Virus Disease has never been detected in Gibraltar, but the Gibraltar Health Authority has warned pregnant women to avoid infected zones after large outbreaks were reported in several South American countries.

Over the past two weeks ‘Zika’, a disease transmitted by a type of mosquito called Aedes aegypti, has been widely reported in the international press.

“Neither the virus nor the mosquito is native to Gibraltar,” a GHA statement said.

“Zika has never been reported in Gibraltar.”

Large outbreaks have been reported in South American countries and there is concern the disease will spread to other countries.

Around 80% of those infected with Zika have no symptoms but scientists think Zika has caused still births or birth defects.

“Zika cannot be spread from person to person directly,” the GHA statement added.

“There is no vaccine to prevent Zika or medicines to stop the disease.”

A public health message warned women who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant should avoid travelling to infected zones.

If travel to a Zika affected country is unavoidable women are advised to discuss travel plans with your doctor and if pregnant to visit the ante-natal clinic.

Special care to avoid mosquito bites should be taken and any symptoms should be reported for up to 14 days after return.