Zika virus: Pregnant Australians warned against travel to Singapore

Peter Terlato 31 August 2016

Singapore city

Recent visitors should also avoid getting pregnant for two months.

Aussie travellers intending to visit Singapore have been warned of potential health risks associated with the ongoing transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

Via its Smartraveller website, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) encouraged all Australians to protect themselves against mosquito bites as this is how the virus is transmitted.

In particular, pregnant women should be extra cautious as the virus can cause malformations in unborn babies. There are a range of insurance options for pregnant travellers and any plans should be discussed with a doctor.

The government said Aussies should adopt additional measures advised by the Department of Health, such as avoiding pregnancy for two months after returning from infected areas.

The overall level of advice for travel to Singapore has not changed.

Most people infected with the virus don't display any symptoms. Around one in five infected patients will suffer nausea, usually for a few days. In some cases, infection can cause fever, rash, severe headaches, joint pain, and muscle or bone pain.

There is no specific treatment for infection, just rest and recovery.

DFAT issued similar advice for Aussies visiting Thailand in March and in June cautioned travellers to Bali after the virus spread to parts of Indonesia.

The Department of Health has an up-to-date list of Zika-affected countries and also suggests preventative measures to combat the risk of infection:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin.
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents)
  • Use insecticide-treated bed nets as necessary
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms

It's important to be aware of any advice or warnings before jetting off. Make sure you select an insurance policy that properly meets your travel needs.

Picture: Shutterstock

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