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UK warns that travelers are at risk of Zika virus in Nigeria

When A Medical Tourism Becomes An Albatross.

The British health authorities have classified Nigeria as having a risk of Zika virus transmission and warned travellers especially it’s citizens to take necessary precautions when visiting the country.

One of such precautionary steps is to avoid getting pregnant while in Nigeria.

A statement on the risks associated with Zika virus in Nigeria was obtained on Tuesday by our correspondent from the United Kingdom’s National Travel Health Network and Centre and Foreign and Commonwealth Office websites.

Each year, about 117,000 British nationals visit Nigeria.

The UK Government said concerning the potential risk, “This country is considered to have a moderate risk of Zika virus transmission. Pregnant women should consider postponing non-essential travel until after the pregnancy. Details of specific affected areas within this country are not available.”

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The UK health authorities added, “It is recommended that pregnant women planning to travel to areas (of) a moderate risk of ZIKV transmission should consider postponing non-essential travel until after pregnancy.

“Women should avoid becoming pregnant while travelling in, and for 8 weeks after leaving an area with active ZIKV transmission or 8 weeks after last possible ZIKV exposure. Couples should follow guidance on prevention of sexual transmission of Zika and avoid conception while travelling and for up to 6 months on return.”

The statement advised that if a woman developed symptoms compatible with ZIKV infection, she should avoid becoming pregnant for a further eight weeks following recovery.

“Pregnant women who visited this country while pregnant, or who become pregnant within 8 weeks of leaving this country or within 8 weeks after last possible ZIKV exposure, should contact their GP, obstetrician or midwife for further advice, even if they have not been unwell,” the health authorities further recommended.

The British government also urged all travellers to avoid mosquito bites particularly between dawn and dusk, warning that there is “no vaccination or medication to prevent ZIKV infection.”

Zika virus is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes which feed between dawn and dusk. A small number of cases of sexual transmission of the virus have also been reported. Most people infected with it have no symptoms.

 

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