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Following its discovery in 1947 until 2007 the Zika virus was regarded as a benign disease, with only 14 documented cases and no hospitalisations or deaths. In 2007 the first serious outbreak occurred, on the Pacific Island of Yap, then in 2015 it erupted in Brazil. By mid-2016 over 60 countries had reported Zika infections and scientists had confirmed a link with serious neurological conditions.

WHO declared Zika a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in February 2016 and issued a Zika Strategic Response Plan to support governments and communities to prevent and manage complications of Zika infection and reduce the socioeconomic effects.

The global response focuses on collaborative effort, relying on governments, NGO’s, researchers and industry to deliver solutions, consisting of education, medical support and innovative mosquito control regimes.

Rentokil operations around the globe are contributing towards this goal.


How do you get the disease and what are the symptoms?

Information and advice for pregnant women and their partners about the risks from Zika

What precautions do international travelers need to take?

Quick Zika facts

  • How do you catch Zika?
    The primary source of infection is through the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito in endemic areas in some tropical countries.
  • Are tests available for the Zika virus?
    A Zika virus infection is confirmed through the person’s symptoms, recent history (living in or visit to an Zika infection area and mosquito bites) and a blood test performed by a public health laboratory. There are no commercially available tests.
  • Is there a vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection?
    There is currently no vaccine to prevent Zika. Several vaccines are under development or in trials but will not be widely available for several years.
  • What treatment is there?
    There is no specific treatment for Zika. Advice given to treat the symptoms is: get some rest; drink fluids to prevent dehydration; consult your doctor about medicines for fever and pain.
  • Who is at risk of a Zika infection?
    Anyone living in or visiting an area where Zika has been confirmed and the sexual partner of a man who has Zika or has visited a Zika area. Foetuses are also at risk if the mother becomes infected. The foetus can suffer serious congenital abnormalities including microcephaly, and limb, hearing and sight disorders.

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