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HealthInfo Canterbury

Zika virus

Zika is a virus that's mostly spread by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus aren't present in New Zealand. But there are outbreaks of Zika in many tropical and subtropical countries.

If a pregnant women is infected with Zika, she can pass it on to her unborn baby. This can cause severe birth defects such as microcephaly. Zika has also been linked to a rare nervous system disease called Guillain-Barré.

Check the latest advice from the Ministry of Health if you're thinking about travelling to a Zika-affected area.

If you're pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon, the Ministry of Health recommends that you consider delaying travel to Zika-affected areas. If you're travelling in a Zika-affected area, talk to your GP. You should take all precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Although rare, there have been reports that the Zika virus can be spread through sexual contact, mainly from the male partner. If you're a man travelling in a Zika-affected area, you should take all precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Also see the advice for men in the first link below about reducing the risk of transmitting the Zika virus to a female partner.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed June 2018. Last updated October 2018.

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Page reference: 242305

Review key: HIZIK-242305