Zika virus in the United Kingdom

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Zika virus does not occur naturally in the United Kingdom. The country is too cold to survive for the Aedes mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus. But almost 1.4 million Brits travel each year to South and Central America and the Caribbean.

As on 4 February 2016, a total of 6 cases have been diagnosed in UK travellers.

British Fertility Society

As Zika virus could cause microcephaly in pregnant women, and the reported case of sexual transmission of Zika virus in the United States, the British Fertility Society has given guidelines on the Zika virus.

The British Fertility Society says:

  • There is evidence that the Zika virus can be found in semen and that it may persist in semen after the acute infection has resolved
  • There have been recorded incidences of sexually transmitted infection.
  • The Zika virus is likely to survive freeze/thaw.

The following actions are recommended. These are consistent with the advice being given to potential blood, organ and tissue donors and by Public Health England to travellers from affected areas.

  • A person who has travelled to an area where the Zika virus is present should not try to conceive naturally, donate gametes or proceed with fertility treatment for 28 days.

Given the evolving situation, up to date information about these areas can be found on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/zika-virus

  • A person who has had a known Zika virus infection should not try to conceive naturally, donate gametes or proceed with fertility treatment for 6 months.