Zika virus infection is a cause of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome
The Alert Response Level under the Government's Preparedness and Response Plan for the Zika Virus Infection is activated
Zika virus infection is a mosquito-borne disease caused by Zika virus. The symptoms of Zika virus infection include skin rash, fever, conjunctivitis, muscle or joint pain and general malaise.
The current major concern is the association with adverse pregnancy outcome (microcephaly) and neurological and autoimmune complications such as Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). The World Health Organization has concluded that Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of congenital brain abnormalities, including microcephaly, and that Zika virus is a trigger of GBS.
Apart from GBS, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (a disease of the central nervous system) was found to be one of the neurologic manifestations possibly resulted from Zika virus infection.
Zika virus is mainly transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. It has also been found in human semen and transmission by sexual contact has been confirmed. Sexual transmission of Zika virus between men who have sex with men has been documented in the literature. Other modes of transmission such as blood transfusion and perinatal transmission are possible.
Prevention of sexual transmission*
*This precautionary measure may be revised as more information becomes available. Individuals with further concerns regarding potential sexual transmission of Zika virus should contact their doctor for advice.
Pregnant women should not travel to areas with Zika virus transmission. Women preparing for pregnancy should note Points A and B above. If they or their male sex partners plan to travel to affected areas, they should consult their doctors for advice on the risk. Use of mosquito repellent containing DEET during travel and returning from these areas for a period of at least 21 days are advised for all travellers including pregnant women.
For details on prevention of Zika virus infection, including those for pregnant women, women preparing for pregnancy and travellers going to affected areas, please refer to the factsheet of Zika Virus Infection.
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For details on screening of blood donors to prevent Zika virus infection, please refer to Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service website. For further details, donors may enquire through hotline: 2710 1234.