Zika Virus

Key medical information. Members can access the latest information and resources on the MedAire Zika website or the MedAire Member Portal.  Alternatively, members can call the Global Response Center for comprehensive advice and support 24/7.

Please contact us if you wish to gain access.


Zika is an emerging infectious disease that is transmitted to people through mosquito bites. An increasing number of travellers are being diagnosed with the disease after they return home.

The first human cases of Zika were identified over 50 years ago, and sporadic cases have been reported in a number of countries since. The first large outbreak was documented in Yap, Micronesia, in 2007. Following an outbreak in French Polynesia in 2013-2014, the disease is spreading through a number of Pacific Islands and now rapidly through the Americas. 

In parallel with these outbreaks, authorities in some locations have noted an increase in birth defects (such as microcephaly) and neurological complications (including Guillain–Barré syndrome). There is growing evidence that Zika may be responsible. In response, the World Health Organization has declared that the association between Zika virus and microcephaly and other neurological disorders constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

A number of health authorities are advising pregnant women to consider delaying travel to affected areas, and for those living there to consider delaying pregnancy until the outbreaks are contained. 


Members can access the latest information and resources on the Member Portal. They can also call MedAire's Global Response Center for comprehensive advice and support, 24/7. 

Pregnant women contemplating international travel should consult a doctor for an individual risk assessment and advice as standard practice prior to any travel, regardless of destination. In addition to infectious risks, it is important to consider the standard of available healthcare, and the availability of obstetric and neonatal specialist support (should it be required).

MedAire advises members to:

  • Register for email alerts on the MedAire Member Portal
  • Monitor our alerts to remain apprised of related developments
Not a MedAire Member? Contact MedAire today to learn how we can support you. 


What is the Zika virus? What are the symptoms?

Zika virus (ZIKV) belongs to a group of viruses called flaviviruses. The group also includes dengue and West Nile virus. Zika is present in tropical areas of Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Africa, Southeast Asia and some Pacific Islands. 

Like dengue, people are infected through mosquito bites. Only one in five develop symptoms. Usually the illness is mild, with symptoms of fever, rash, red eyes (conjunctivitis), joint pain, rash and muscle and joint pains. Most people recover in a week, and no specific treatment is available. There is growing evidence that the virus might be linked to neurological complications and birth defects.

How can it be prevented?

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika, so it is important to prevent mosquito bites. Due to the potential risk of birth defects, this is especially important for pregnant women.

Learn about the Zika virus, including it's signs, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. The presentation is led by MedAire's parent company, International SOS. Watch now.

Members can access the latest information and resources on the MedAire Zika website or the Member Portal. They can also call the MedAire Global Response Center for comprehensive advice and support 24/7.

The following MedAire fact sheets and posters are available for download: