Vaccinations

Chickenpox

Chickenpox is a highly infectious viral disease. Most children in the UK have the disease before the age of 10. After a chickenpox infection the virus stays dormant in the body and may reactivate at a later date, causing shingles. Chickenpox for most children is a mild, self-limiting disease; adults are more prone to severe disease and complications. Chickenpox infections peak between March and May.

Symptoms

The illness usually starts with fever and tiredness, followed by the development of an itchy rash of raised red spots that turn into fluid filled blisters. The spots generally start on the face and scalp before spreading over the rest of the body.

How do you catch Chickenpox?

Direct contact with the fluid from the blisters, or droplets spread through coughing and sneezing

Incubation period

1-3 weeks. Chickenpox is contagious from 1-2 days before the rash appears until all blisters have scabbed over – which is usually 5-6 days after the rash developed.

Diagnosis

The red blister-type rash is usually enough to diagnose a chickenpox infection.

Prevention

Good standards of hygiene can reduce the chance of spreading the infection. These include covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, preferably with a tissue which can then be disposed of, and regular hand-washing. A vaccine is available through private clinics. It may be recommended for healthcare workers if they have not had chickenpox themselves and are not immune.

Treatment

There is no cure, the majority of cases resolve with any specific treatment. Lotions and gels can be bought over the counter to reduce itching and soothe the skin. Ibuprofen should not be given to relieve discomfort as it can make someone with chickenpox very ill – paracetamol can be given instead. Anyone infected should stay away from school, nursery or work until all blisters have scabbed over, when the virus is no longer infectious.

Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a disease caused by a virus. It is widespread in many continents, particularly Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It has also been reported in parts of the Americas and some European countries, including Italy and France. Most epidemics occur during the rainy season.

Symptoms

Fever and severe joint pains. Other symptoms can include headache, muscle pains, rashes, fatigue and nausea.

How do you catch chikungunya?

Infected daytime-biting mosquitos transmit the virus. Peak times tend to be early morning and late afternoon.

Incubation period

4 – 8 days

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms and confirmed by a blood test.

Prevention

Chikungunya is prevented by avoiding mosquito bites, through use of an effective insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting clothing.

Treatment

Symptoms resolve with time but rest and painkillers can help.

Cholera

Cholera is an infection of the intestines caused by bacteria. Most cases are mild and are similar to other types of travellers’ diarrhoea. Severe cases are rare in travellers.

Symptoms

Diarrhoea – which can be very watery, sometimes with vomiting and fever.

How do you catch cholera?

Cholera is usually spread by drinking contaminated water and commonly occurs following natural disasters or in refugee camps.

Incubation period

2 – 5 days

Prevention

The risk of catching cholera can be reduced by only drinking safe water and through good personal hygiene. Avoiding raw or undercooked seafood will also reduce the risk.

Treatment

Drinking plenty of fluids is necessary to prevent dehydration. In serious cases antibiotics may be needed.

Dengue fever

Dengue fever is a viral infection that causes a severe flu-like illness. It is commonly found in more than 100 countries worldwide and can occur in both rural and urban areas. About half of the world’s population is thought to live in areas with a risk of dengue fever.

Symptoms

Fever, intense headache, eye pain, joint pains and a rash – although about 75% of infections are free of symptoms

How do you catch dengue fever?

Dengue fever is transmitted by a mosquito that mainly bites during the daytime.

Incubation period

usually 4 – 7 days

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms and confirmed by blood tests.

Prevention

Dengue fever is prevented by avoiding mosquito bites, through use of an effective insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting clothing.

Treatment

There is no cure, so treatment consists of nursing care, pain killers and management of any complications.

Diphtheria

Diphtheria is an infection caused by bacteria. It mainly affects the nose and throat, but can also affect the skin. It is very infectious and can become serious very quickly. Most cases occur in people who have never had a diphtheria vaccine, or who did not complete the initial course.

Symptoms

Fever, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, hoarse voice. Serious cases can lead to breathing problems and heart failure.

How do you catch diphtheria?

Diphtheria is mostly spread by coughs and sneezes, but there are other ways it can be spread, including by eating unpasteurised dairy products.

Incubation period

2 – 5 days

Diagnosis

Diphtheria is diagnosed by sending swabs from the mouth and throat to a laboratory for testing.

Prevention

A course of the vaccine combining diphtheria with tetanus and polio is offered routinely in the UK from the age of 8 weeks. A booster vaccination may be advised for travellers going to areas of high risk.

Treatment

As diphtheria can be very serious, patients will be isolated in hospital and started on antibiotics before swab test results are received.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a virus which affects the liver. Occasionally it is severe enough to cause liver failure, with 2% of cases in adults being fatal. Children often have no symptoms.

Symptoms

Fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach discomfort, the skin and the whites of the eyes become yellow.

How do you catch hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A infection usually occurs through eating or drinking food and water contaminated with human waste or sewage. It can also be spread from one person to another and by people with poor personal hygiene who handle or prepare food.

Incubation period

Average of 28 days but can be up to 50 days.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is confirmed by a blood test.

Prevention

A hepatitis A vaccine gives a high level of protection. Care should be taken with personal hygiene. Follow advice from the travel health nurse regarding foods that should be avoided (especially shellfish) and do not drink the local water.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment available. Hospital care may be necessary if the illness becomes more serious.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a very infectious virus which affects the liver and can be life-threatening. Long-lasting infection can lead to chronic liver disease and even cancer many years later. It is a worldwide problem. There are thought to be 350 million people who are “carriers” of the hepatitis B virus.

Symptoms

Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever. Occasionally a skin rash and joint pains can occur.

How do you catch hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is spread by contact with blood or body fluids from an infected person. It can be spread through unprotected sex, tattoos, body piercings, acupuncture, contact sports or by sharing needles with drug users.

Incubation period

30 – 80 days

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is confirmed by a blood test, which can detect the virus for 30-60 days after infection

Prevention

Using a condom will reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of catching hepatitis B through sexual intercourse. Avoid anything which involves piercing the skin unless you are certain that the equipment has been sterilised properly. An effective vaccine is available and is part of routine immunisation programmes in many countries, including the UK

Treatment

Treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms, as there is no cure. Antiviral drugs are used in long term infections.

HPV

HPV infection is caused by a large group of viruses and affects the skin and the mucous membranes. Infections of the genital area are common and highly contagious, and can cause genital warts and cervical cancer.

Symptoms

Most people infected with HPV have no symptoms and many never develop any health problems as a result of the virus. Others may be found to have the infection if genital warts or verrucas develop, or through screening – such as a cervical smear test. It can take many years for cervical cancer to develop in a healthy individual.

How do you catch Human papilloma virus (HPV)?

Most cases are spread through sexual intercourse and skin to skin contact of the genital areas. As an infected person may have no symptoms, it can be impossible to know when the infection was caught.

Incubation period

It is impossible to state an exact incubation period for HPV as symptoms, such as genital warts, may take months or years to develop.

Diagnosis

HPV infection is usually discovered through investigation of a related illness (e.g. genital warts) or through a smear test. There is no blood test for HPV.

Prevention

Sexually active individuals can lower the risk of catching HPV by using a condom, however due to the risk of transmission from skin to skin contact, this may not provide full protection.

Treatment

There is no treatment for the virus itself but warts, verrucas or HPV related cancers can be treated if diagnosed early. Women are advised to attend for routine cervical screening in order to detect any precancerous cells early. There is no reliable test for HPV in men at the current time.

Influenza

Flu (influenza) is an infectious respiratory disease caused by a virus.

Symptoms

Symptoms can include; a sudden fever, headache, aches, sore throat and a dry chesty cough.

How do you catch Influenza?

Flu is spread by coughs, sneezes and contact with those who already have the disease

Incubation period

1 to 4 days

Diagnosis

Based on the symptoms. Usually self-diagnosed by the person who has the infection.

Prevention

Use a tissue to catch germs when coughing/sneezing, bin used tissues as quickly as possible and wash hands often with warm water and soap. A vaccine is available annually which helps reduce the risk of catching flu. This is available through the NHS to people in certain risk groups. It is also available privately through MASTA.

Treatment

No specific treatment is available for flu, remedies are available from a pharmacist to help relieve symptoms. Anti-virals may be prescribed for people in high-risk groups if needed.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a virus that can cause inflammation of the brain. Most cases occur in Asia – it is not found in Africa or Central or South America. The infection is quite rare, but the serious form has a fatality rate of 30%. There is a major outbreak of Japanese encephalitis every 2-15 years.

Symptoms

Sudden fever, with vomiting and neck stiffness, sometimes leading to confusion, agitation and coma.

How do you catch Japanese encephalitis?

The disease is spread by infected mosquitoes, which bite between dusk and dawn. Japanese encephalitis mainly occurs in rural agricultural areas.

Incubation period

5 – 15 days

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is confirmed by blood tests

Prevention

Japanese encephalitis can be prevented by taking steps to avoid mosquito bites. A vaccine is available prior to travel following assessment by a travel nurse.

Treatment

There is no cure for Japanese encephalitis. Supportive treatment aims to relieve symptoms and manage any complications.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious illness caused by a parasite which infects red blood cells. The risk of malaria differs from region to region and from traveller to traveller within a single country. The season of travel, geographical location, accommodation and activities can affect the risk. Other factors are human immunity to malaria, taking malaria tablets and measures to avoid bites.

Symptoms

Fever is usually the most important symptom at first, possibly with headache, muscle pains, diarrhoea, and cough. Severe untreated malaria can lead to seizures, coma and death. Symptoms can develop as early as 7 days and as late as several months after infection.

How do you catch malaria?

Malaria is transmitted by an infected mosquito, which mainly bites between dusk and dawn.

Incubation period

Usually 10 – 15 days.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by microscopic examination of blood.

Prevention

Travellers should be aware of malaria risk areas and take care to avoid mosquito bites. Malaria tablets, if advised, should be taken as instructed by your travel nurse.

Treatment

Suspected or confirmed malaria is a medical emergency requiring urgent attention. Treatment is effective if commenced early.

Meningitis B

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial infection affecting the brain and spinal cord. There are different groups of meningitis – A, C, W, Y and B are the most common. The UK childhood vaccination schedule includes vaccinations against these five groups, as infants and young people are more vulnerable. Most meningitis infections in the UK are caused by the B and C groups.

Symptoms

Sudden fever, intense headache, nausea, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights. A non-blanching rash appears as the infection worsens.

How do you catch Meningitis B?

Meningitis is spread by coughs, sneezes or contact with someone who has the infection. It usually occurs in epidemics and can affect any age group. It can spread quickly in large crowds or in communal living areas (e.g. universities).

Incubation period

2 – 10 days

Diagnosis

confirmed by testing blood or spinal fluid for bacteria.

Prevention

Washing hands regularly, especially before eating; cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing; avoid sharing drinks/food/toothbrushes and other items used orally with anyone else. Ensure vaccinations are up to date. Vaccines offered against meningitis by MASTA are Men B and Men ACWY.

Treatment

Bacterial meningitis requires urgent treatment (antibiotics and fluids) in hospital. Without early treatment it can be fatal within hours.

Meningococcal Meningitis (ACWY)

Meningococcal meningitis is an infection caused by a bacteria or virus, which affects the brain and spinal cord. There are different forms of meningitis – A, C, W, Y and B are the most common. Left untreated it has a very high fatality rate.

Symptoms

Sudden fever, intense headache, nausea, stiff neck, dislike of bright light. A non-blanching rash appears as the infection worsens.

How do you catch meningococcal meningitis?

Meningitis is spread by coughs, sneezes or contact with someone who has the infection. It usually occurs in epidemics and can affect any age group. It can spread quickly in large crowds or in communal living areas.

Incubation period

2 – 10 days

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is confirmed through testing blood or spinal fluid.

Prevention

Avoiding crowded places and close contact with local people where possible can reduce the risk of catching meningitis. The meningitis ACWY vaccination can be offered to people travelling to high risk areas and is given to certain age groups in the UK as part of the routine schedule. Meningitis B vaccine is also part of the UK childhood schedule (and available privately through MASTA).

Treatment

Meningitis infection caused by a bacteria needs to be treated with antibiotics urgently. Hospital care is needed. Without early treatment meningitis can be fatal within hours.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection affecting the lungs caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. Each year in the UK, 8 in every 1000 adults develop pneumonia (around 220,000 people per year) and approximately 29,000 people die.

Symptoms

Common symptoms are a persistent cough, fever, breathlessness, feeling generally unwell, no appetite, sweating/shivering and chest pains which worsen when breathing or coughing.

How do you catch Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is most commonly transmitted by air-borne droplets from a cough or sneeze, but can also be spread through person to person contact.

Incubation period

This depends on the cause, but tends to be 1-7 days approx.

Diagnosis

The condition is diagnosed based on clinical symptoms, listening to the chest, X-Rays, and blood tests.

Prevention

Good standards of hygiene can reduce the chance of spreading the disease. These include covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, preferably with a tissue which can then be disposed of, and regular hand-washing. Two licensed pneumococcal vaccines are currently available.

Treatment

Pneumonia is treated with antibiotics, rest, and an increased fluid intake. Hospitalisation is normally required for more serious cases.

Polio

Poliomyelitis (Polio) infection is caused by a virus which affects the nervous system and can lead to permanent paralysis, usually of the legs. Only a small number of cases become more serious. Most people infected will have very mild symptoms, or none at all.

Symptoms

Fever, tiredness, headache, vomiting, muscle stiffness in back and neck, pain in the limbs.

How do you catch polio?

Polio can be spread from person to person – through coughs or sneezes or contact with infected human waste – or by eating/drinking contaminated food and water.

Incubation period

7 – 10 days

Diagnosis

A stool or tissue sample is sent to a laboratory to confirm the diagnosis.

Prevention

A vaccine combined with diphtheria and tetanus is part of the UK routine vaccination schedule. A booster can be given if needed. Food and water hygiene is important – wash hands frequently and avoid contact with water that might be contaminated with sewage.Treatment

There is no cure for polio. Medications can be given to ease fever, pain and vomiting. Medical support with breathing may be needed if the breathing muscles are affected.

Rabies

Rabies is a viral infection which affects, and is carried by, warm-blooded animals (mammals), including bats. Once a person has been infected, the virus travels to the brain and spinal cord. By the time symptoms in humans appear, rabies is invariably fatal, as there is no cure.

Symptoms

Fever, headache, fatigue, tingling, prickling or burning at the site of the wound initially, progressing to agitation, muscle spasms, coma.

How do you catch rabies?

Rabies is spread through bites, scratches and licks from infected animals, including to the eyes, nose or mouth. Dog bites are the most common cause of human infection.

Incubation period

usually between 3 and 12 weeks, but can range from 4 days to 1 year, or longer. Bites or scratches to the head, neck, face and fingers tend to have shorter incubation periods.

Diagnosis

There is no current test for rabies before symptoms start, but when they do the virus can be detected in saliva, spinal fluid, urine and brain tissue. Often the diagnosis is confirmed after death.

Prevention

Travellers should avoid contact with all animals during travel, including pets. Never approach, handle or feed animals while travelling. A pre-exposure course of three vaccines is available for travellers.

Treatment

For all bites, scratches or licks: thoroughly wash the area with soap and water for several minutes, cover the wound, then seek urgent medical attention. Post exposure vaccines may be required. The number of vaccines needed will depend on how many pre-exposure vaccines have been given. Rabies immunoglobulin injection may also be advised.

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis is an infection caused by a parasite. The parasite lives on certain snails which live in fresh water, most commonly in tropical areas, especially in Africa. Water sports, swimming or showering in these waters should be avoided.

Symptoms

An itchy rash can appear on the skin, known as “swimmers itch”. Sometimes a fever can develop 2-6 weeks later, with diarrhoea, cough or other symptoms (“Katayama fever”). Long-term infection may have no symptoms for years.

How do you catch schistosomiasis?

The tiny parasitic worms in the water burrow through the skin. They then travel to the veins of the bladder or bowels and release eggs.

Incubation period

Usually 2-12 weeks for the initial infection.

Diagnosis

Blood tests no earlier than 8 weeks after contact with the fresh water can confirm the diagnosis. St

Prevention

Avoid water sports, swimming or wading in fresh water lakes and rivers in the tropics. If crossing a river cannot be avoided, wear waterproof footwear and try to find an area where the water is fast flowing.

Treatment

A drug called praziquantel is used to treat schistosomiasis, but is not effective in the early stage of infection – so taking it after a swim is not likely to help. Any traveller who has been in fresh water in tropical areas should see their doctor 8-12 weeks later for tests.

Shingles

Shingles (also known as Shingles Herpes Zoster) is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV) -the same virus which causes chickenpox.

Symptoms

The first signs of shingles can be an itching, tingling or painful feeling in an area of skin and a headache/generally feeling unwell. The rash (fluid-filled blisters) forms a few days later on one side of the body, commonly on the chest or stomach, and can be intensely painful.

How do you catch Shingles?

After having chickenpox, the VZV remains dormant in the nervous system. Most cases occur at a later stage in life or when the immune system is lowered.

Incubation period

Shingles can occur at any time; initial symptoms can appear 1-5 days before the rash develops.

Diagnosis

Based on symptoms and the appearance of the rash.

Prevention

Vaccination is the only preventative measure in place against shingles. It can significantly reduce the risk of Post Herpetic Neuralgia.

Treatment

There is no cure, treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms of the disease. If seen early on by a GP, antivirals can be prescribed to speed recovery.

Tetanus

Tetanus is caused by a bacteria that releases a powerful toxin (poison) into the body. It is a serious disease, which can be fatal even with medical treatment. In developed countries, such as the UK, tetanus is rare due to vaccination programmes, but it is found worldwide.

Symptoms

Symptoms include fever, stiffness of the jaw (“lockjaw”), muscles in the back, trunk, hands and feet becoming rigid, followed by painful spasms. Breathing muscles can be affected.

How do you catch tetanus?

Cells produced by the bacteria (spores) are present in soil, manure and occasionally in injected drugs and enter the body through a wound or break in the skin.

Incubation period

3 – 21 days

Diagnosis

As there may not be a noticeable wound, diagnosis is made based on the symptoms. Some laboratory test.

Prevention

Clean all wounds with soap and water. Seek medical advice even if vaccinated, in case antibiotics are needed. A booster vaccine can be given to travellers who have had the primary UK childhood schedule. It comes as a combined vaccination with diphtheria and polio.

Treatment

Hospital treatment is required, in intensive care. Tetanus and other vaccinations are given

Tick-borne encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis is a virus that affects the nervous system. Approximately one third of people infected may develop a severe form of the illness that can cause long term complications or even be fatal. The severity of the disease increases with age.

Symptoms

Flu-type symptoms at first. Symptoms of the severe form are fever, severe headache, seizures, becoming semiconscious or unconscious.

How do you catch tick-borne encephalitis?

Infected ticks spread the virus through their saliva. They live at ground level in forests, woods, grasslands, riverside meadows, marshes and shrub lands. The virus can also be transmitted by drinking unpasteurised milk from infected cows, goats or sheep but this is rare.

Incubation period

Approximately 8 days

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is confirmed through a blood test or fluid from the spinal cord.

Prevention

Avoid tick bites by wearing long sleeves, long trousers tucked into socks, sturdy footwear and using an effective insect repellent. Take care to inspect your skin each day and remove any ticks using fine tipped tweezers.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for tick-borne encephalitis – severe cases require hospital care to manage any complications. An effective vaccine is available for travellers who may be at risk.

Travellers diarrhoea

Travellers diarrhoea (TD) is a common travel related illness that can affect between 20-60% of people who visit less-developed countries. Most cases of TD settle in a few days but occasionally the symptoms may last for a month or longer.

Symptoms

Watery or loose diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, fever.

How do you catch travellers diarrhoea?

TD can be caused by many different organisms through eating or drinking contaminated food or water or through poor hand hygiene.

Incubation period

From a few hours to a few days.

Diagnosis

Laboratory tests are not always needed, as TD usually settles in a few days. If needed, blood tests

Prevention

TD is very difficult to avoid. Wash hands before preparing or eating food. When washing facilities are not available an alcohol hand gel can be helpful. Drink only safe water and avoid eating certain foods. A travel health nurse will be able to provide more information

Treatment

Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Continue to eat if you feel hungry. Rehydration sachets can be bought over the counter in the UK and may help the symptoms to settle more quickly.

Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection caused by a bacteria that can affect many parts of the body but most commonly affects the lungs. It is estimated that over 9 million new cases occur around the world every year. Most travellers are not at high risk of infection.

Symptoms

Persistent cough, weight loss, fever, night sweats, loss of appetite, fatigue

How do you catch tuberculosis?

TB is caught most commonly from someone who has the form affecting the lungs, through coughing, sneezing or spitting. The risk is higher when longer periods of time are spent living or working with an infected person.

Incubation period

4 – 12 weeks

Diagnosis

Blood tests and sputum tests confirm the diagnosis, along with X-rays.

Prevention

Avoid overcrowded places and close contact with infected people in regions where the risk is high. The BCG vaccine can be offered to help protect against the disease, but a skin or blood test is needed to check there is no obvious or hidden (latent) infection first

Treatment

A combination of antibiotics is needed. Treatment normally lasts for at least six months.

Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is a disease of the bowel and bloodstream, caused by a bacteria which only infects humans. It is a problem in countries with poor sanitation or a lack of clean water. Most cases in travellers are in those who have visited India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, but typhoid is found worldwide.

Symptoms

Fever, headache, loss of appetite, feeling generally unwell. The fever tends to be higher late afternoon or evening.

How do you catch typhoid fever?

Typhoid is most commonly caught through drinking water or eating food that is contaminated by infected human faeces or urine.

Incubation period

1-3 weeks

Diagnosis

Medical examination, blood tests, and tests on stool specimens or bone marrow confirm the diagnosis.

Prevention

A vaccination is available, but travellers must also take care to avoid eating or drinking contaminated food and water and should wash hands before preparing or eating food.

Treatment

Typhoid can be treated with antibiotics, but sometimes relapses can occur. Relapses do not tend to be severe.

Yellow fever

Yellow fever is a virus that can cause a flu-like illness. It can develop into a more serious illness which has a high fatality rate. Large outbreaks can occur – International Health Regulations are in place to help prevent the disease spreading. It is rare in travellers – the last case in the UK was reported in 1930.

Symptoms

Fever, headache, tiredness, low back pain, nausea and vomiting. Severe infection causes yellowing of the skin, bleeding and organ failure.

How do you catch yellow fever?

Yellow fever is spread by an infected daytime-biting mosquito.

Incubation period

3 – 6 days.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is by a blood test.

Prevention

Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with loose-fitting clothing and using an effective insect repellent. A single yellow fever vaccine can give lifetime protection for those over 9 months of age who are travelling to a high risk area. It is only available from registered yellow fever centres, such as MASTA, after a careful assessment by a travel nurse, as serious reactions to the vaccine have occurred – although these are rare.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for yellow fever. Symptoms are treated as required, with hospital care if necessary. People who recover from the virus have immunity for life.

Zika virus

Zika is an infection caused by a virus. The illness is usually mild and does not last long. Zika is known to affect brain development in babies whose mothers had the infection during pregnancy, with many cases being reported in Brazil. These babies have been born with microcephaly – they have small heads with brains that have not developed as they should.

Symptoms

Rash, fever, eye infections, muscle and joint pains. Most people will have no symptoms at all.

How do you catch zika virus?

Zika virus is spread by a daytime-biting mosquito.

Incubation period

3 – 12 days

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is confirmed by blood tests.

Prevention

Zika can be prevented by taking steps to avoid mosquito bites – by wearing loose-fitting clothing and using an effective insect repellent. It is known that Zika virus can be spread through sex, especially from male partners. Precautions should be taken by both men and women whilst in high risk areas and for a period of time afterwards, as advised by a travel health nurse.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for Zika infection apart from rest, drinking plenty of fluids and taking medication for fever or pain.

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