Emergencies

Zika virus quiz

1 What can you do to you protect yourself from Zika virus?

The best protection from Zika virus is preventing mosquito bites. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and their sexual partners should take extra care to protect themselves from the bites of the mosquito that transmits Zika. This can be done by:

Wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible.

Using insect repellent: repellents may be applied to exposed skin or to clothing. Repellents must be used in strict accordance with the label instructions. They are safe for use by pregnant women.

Using physical barriers such mesh screens or treated netting materials on doors and windows.

Sleeping under mosquito nets, especially when resting during the day, when Aedes mosquitoes are most active.

Identifying and eliminating potential mosquito breeding sites, by emptying, cleaning or covering containers that can hold even small amounts of water, such as buckets, flower pots and tyres.

2 What should insect repellent contain to be effective against mosquitoes?

All 3 of the ingredients are effective in repelling mosquitoes. Just check the label of mosquito repellents to ensure it includes 1 of the 3 ingredients listed above. Repellents may be applied to exposed skin or to clothing, and should contain DEET (diethyltoluamide) or IR 3535 or Icaridin which are the most common biologically active ingredients in insect repellents. Repellents must be used in strict accordance with the label instructions. They are safe for use by pregnant women.

3 Can Zika virus be transmitted through sex?

Yes. There have been documented cases of Zika virus being transmitted through sex.

All people who have been infected with Zika virus and their sexual partners—particularly pregnant women—should practice safer sexual practices. When feasible, they should have access to condoms and use them correctly and consistently or abstain from sex.

Pregnant women’s sex partners living in or returning from areas where local transmission of Zika virus occurs should practice safer sex, wearing condoms, or abstaining throughout the pregnancy.

People living in areas where local transmission of Zika virus occurs should practice safer sex or abstain from sexual activity.

In addition, people returning from areas where local transmission of Zika virus occurs should adopt safer sexual practices or consider abstinence for at least 4 weeks after their return.

4 Can women transmit Zika virus to their fetuses during pregnancy or childbirth?

Transmission of Zika virus from pregnant women to their fetuses has been documented. Zika virus infection close to term could potentially be transmitted during both pregnancy and at childbirth.

5 Which of the below can cause paralysis?

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare condition in which a person’s immune system attacks his or her nerves. People of all ages can be affected, but it is more common in adult men. Most people recover fully from even the most severe cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome. In 20%-25% of people with the condition, the chest muscles are affected, making it hard to breathe. Severe cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome are rare, but can result in paralysis.

6 Does Zika virus cause microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome?

Substantial new research has strengthened the association between Zika infection and the occurrence of fetal malformations and neurological disorders.

This page links all WHO information to its response on the Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Video

Video Q&A - Zika virus prevention through mosquito control

Dr Raman Velayudhan provides more information on preventing Zika virus disease.