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Zika fever - pregnant women advised against travel to Miami-Dade County, Florida

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zika aedis aegypti
Foto: CDC/James Gathany

Developments in the Zika situation in Florida have led toto updated travel advice. Pregnant women are now being advised to avoid the entire Miami-Dade county, and individuals who have stayed in Miami-Dade county should take precautions upon their return.


On 2nd August 2016, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health advised pregnant women not to travel to Miami city. Several cases of Zika fever in Miami Beach, in addition to the previously affected neighbourhood in Miami city, have led to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health extending its travel advice to the whole of Miami-Dade county. The situation is being closely monitored and will be updated if the situation changes.

The health authorities in  Florida have identified two areas in Miami-Dade county where studies have shown that the virus was transmitted by mosquitoes. In addition to the previously identified area in the Wynwood neighbourhood, there is mosquito-borne transmission in a part of Miami Beach, where 5 cases are confirmed.  

US health authorities are now advising pregnant women not to visit this part of Miami.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the spread of infection in Miami, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has issued the following advice:

Advice to pregnant women

  • Pregnant women are advised to avoid travel to Miami-Dade county, Florida
  • Pregnant women who decide to travel to affected areas should be particularly careful about mosquito protection during their stay.
  • Pregnant women who have stayed in Miami ciyt since June 15th or in other parts of Miami-Dade county after July 14th should be followed up by the health service on their return.

Advice to travellers who have been to Miami-Dade county

In addition, anyone who has been to Miami city since June 15th or in other parts of Miami-Dade county after July 14th should take precautions after they return:

  • Women who have stayed in the area should wait eight weeks after their return before they conceive.
  • Men who have stayed in the area and have a pregnant partner should use condoms or abstain from sexual activity during the entire pregnancy.
  • Men who have stayed in the area and have a partner at home who could conceive should use contraception after returning home to avoid pregnancy. Use contraception for eight weeks if the man has not had symptoms of Zika infection. Use contraception for six months if the man has had symptoms of the disease.
  • Condoms reduce the risk of infection with Zika virus. People who have been to the area can avoid infecting their partner by using a condom. Use condoms for eight weeks after returning home if either partner has not had symptoms of Zika infection. Use condoms for six months if the man has had symptoms of the disease.

All travellers to Miami-Dade county should:

  • Use clothing that covers the body (long-sleeved shirts, long trousers and socks)
  • Use mosquito repellents, or sleep under mosquito nets and spray the home with insecticide.
  • Use mosquito repellents during the day and reapply after sweating.

Good mosquito protection is particularly important for individuals with immunodeficiency or serious chronic diseases and they should consult their doctor before traveling.

Women should use reliable contraception to avoid becoming pregnant during their stay in Miami-Dade county. For long-term stays, follow the advice from the local health authorities.

There is no reason for pregnant women to avoid travel to other parts of Florida or other states based on the current situation. Travellers returning home after staying in areas outside the Miami-Dade county in Florida or other states in the US do not need to take extra precautions.

Background

On 29th July, the US health authorities reported the first four cases of Zika fever that were transmitted within the USA. Local Aedes aegypti mosquitoes most likely transmitted the virus.  There have already been 1658 confirmed cases in the USA, where the majority were infected after travel to other countries on the American continent with ongoing outbreaks. The remaining cases were infected sexually by people returning from Zika-affected areas. Health authorities in Florida and other southern states in the USA have introduced several measures to limit the risk of mosquito-borne Zika infection. There are no reported cases of Zika fever in other US states.