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Zika Virus Infection in French Guiana

Zika Virus Infection in French Guiana

WHO has reported on laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus infection in two overseas departments of France: French Guiana and Martinique.

Two cases have been identified in French Guiana; one each in Remire-Montjoly and Saint Laurent du Maroni. Two cases have been reported in Martinique; one each in Scoelcher and Fort de France.

A further 4 suspected cases in Martinique (3 in Le Robert, one in Lamentin) are awaiting laboratory results for confirmation/exclusion of Zika virus.

Advice for Travellers

Avoiding mosquito bites, particularly during daylight hours, is recommended. Due to the possible link between Zika virus infection and birth defects, pregnant women are urged to be particularly vigilant in preventing mosquito bites.

Bite avoidance measures include: covering up with clothing, the use of insect repellent and bed nets impregnated with insecticide. Reduction of mosquito breeding sites around hotel rooms/homes is advised for longer term stays.

In the past, outbreaks of Zika virus infection have occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.  Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.

About one in five people infected with Zika virus will develop symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (pink eye). Other commonly reported symptoms include myalgia, headache, and pain behind the eyes. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and case fatality is low. Guillain-Barré syndrome has been reported in patients with probable Zika virus infection in French Polynesia and Brazil. Research efforts will also examine the link between Zika and GBS.

Take out comprehensive travel and international private medical insurance before you travel to French Guiana.


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