Pregnant women advised against travel to Florida due to Zika

Department of Foreign Affairs has extended its travel warning as virus spreads to US

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is behind the large outbreaks of Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean. Photograph: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP File

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is behind the large outbreaks of Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean. Photograph: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP File

 

Pregnant women are being advised to postpone non-essential trips to Florida because of the Zika virus.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has extended its travel warning to the state on the south-east coat of the United States following the first suspected cases of local transmission of the virus.

The department said it was applying the same advice to Florida as to other affected areas, which was that women who were pregnant or planning to become pregnant should consider postponing their travel.

The Zika virus has been associated with a birth defect called microcephaly, which results in children being born with abnormally small heads and brain damage.

The virus - a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease - originated in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

More than 1,650 Zika infections have been reported in the US, but four patients in Florida have tested positive for the virus and appear to be the first not linked to travel outside the US mainland.

The department said it based its advice on information from the HSE and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). Irish citizens can follow updated guidance on the HPSC website: www.hpsc.ie/A-Z/Vectorborne/Zika/