UNFPA on the Zika Virus Outbreak

01 Feb 2016

Statement of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund

Everyone should take steps to avoid exposure to the Zika virus. Pregnant women and those of childbearing age should take extra care to avoid exposure to mosquito bites, use insecticide-treated mosquito nets and apply insect repellents approved for use in pregnant women.

Pregnant women have the same risk as the rest of the population of being infected with Zika virus: between one in four to one in five people infected with the Zika virus develops symptoms, and among those with symptoms, the illness is usually mild.

Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant are urged to seek prenatal care to receive information and monitoring of their pregnancy and to follow their doctors’ recommendations.

Women who don't want to become pregnant should be advised to use contraceptives. Those who want to become pregnant should be monitored and advised to increase preventive measures, as mentioned above.

As there is no vaccine or specific treatment for the Zika virus infection, treatment for everyone, including pregnant women, is directed at alleviating symptoms.

Current information on the transmission from mothers to babies during pregnancy or childbirth is very limited. Research is currently under way on possible mother-to-child transmission of the virus and its effects on babies. Pregnant women in general, and particularly those who develop symptoms of the Zika virus infection, should be closely monitored by health providers. In all cases, women, including those who are pregnant, should be able to access the full range of sexual and reproductive health services in accordance to national laws and policies.

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