Pregnant Women Advised To Avoid Florida Because Of Zika Virus

Pregnant women are now being advised to avoid visiting Florida because of the Zika virus. Public Health England has updated its country-specific Zika advice page to include the US state as an area of "moderate risk." This means that the government-run body recommends pregnant women should "consider postponing non-essential travel" to the region. Public Health Wales and Northern Ireland's Public Health Agency have also updated their websites to include links to this new advice from Public Health England. The new advice comes as Florida, which attracted visits from over 1.7 million UK holiday-makers in 2015, has confirmed the four cases in the US of the Zika virus being transmitted by local mosquitoes. The US already has over 1,600 cases of the Zika virus, but these are believed to have been transmitted abroad before the victim returned home. The Guardian reports that 53 cases of the Zika virus have now been confirmed in the UK, all transmitted abroad before the victim returned home. Professor Paul Cosford of Public Health England said in a statement yesterday: "We expect to see small numbers of Zika virus infections in travellers returning to the UK, but the risk to the wider population is very low as the mosquito that spreads the Zika virus is not found in the UK." Among the countries currently designated as "high risk" by Public Health England are Brazil, where the Olympic Games begin in Rio de Janeiro next week, and significant swathes of South America, Central America and the Caribbean. For these "high risk" regions, Public Health England advises firmly: "Pregnant women should postpone non-essential travel."

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