Brazil is one of the 58 countries and territories which to-date report continuing transmission of Zika virus by mosquitoes. While mosquitoes are the primary vectors, a person infected with Zika virus can also transmit the virus to another person through unprotected sex. Zika virus disease usually causes mild symptoms, and most people will not develop any symptoms. However, there is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly (children being born with unusually small heads) and other brain malformations and disorders in babies born to women who were infected with Zika virus during pregnancy, and Guillain-Barré syndrome (a rare but serious neurological disorder that could lead to paralysis and death).
- whenever possible, during the day, protect yourself from mosquito bites by using insect repellents and by wearing clothing – preferably light-coloured – that covers as much of the body as possible;
- choose air-conditioned accommodation (windows and doors are usually kept closed to prevent the cool air from escaping, and mosquitoes cannot enter the rooms); chose a patio that is enclosed with flyscreen;
- avoid visiting impoverished and over-crowded areas in cities and towns with no piped water and poor sanitation (ideal breeding grounds of mosquitoes) where the risk of being bitten is higher.