Zika Virus Alert

Everybody is talking about Zika virus. Should you be worried about Zika virus when travelling to Australia?

The current Zika virus epidemic started in Brazil in May 2015 and has spread to many countries in South America.  There are only few cases of Zika virus that have been reported in West Australian. The people who had tested positively recently traveled to South America.

Aedes mosquitoZika virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are not found in West Australian. However, that does not mean that there are no Aedes species in Australian. There over 30 species of Aedes mosquitoes in Australia.  Some of these species include:

  1. Aedes aegypti found in Queensland.
  2. Aedes aculeatus which is found in northern NSW and southern QLD
  3. Aedes alboannulatus that is found in all states.
  4. Aedes alternans that is found in QLD, WA NSW, NT, VIC, SA,

 

The presence of these mosquito does not mean that you should not travel to Australia. From the reported cases, only two people have been infected. However, taking precaution should be considered especially for pregnant women.

Zika virus has been associated with birth defect called microcephaly where a baby is born with a small head.  Consider carrying or buying mosquito repellent and applying mostly during day time as Aedes mosquito’s only bites during day time.

Sign and symptoms includes rashes, fever, pain in the joints and red eyes (Conjunctivitis ). There is not medication or vaccination for Zika virus. The only protection is the precaution you take like applying mosquito repellent.