14 Mar 2016

SPC calls for more education on Zika sexual transmission

8:09 am on 14 March 2016

The Pacific Community says the region needs to step up education efforts on the risks of sexual transmission of the Zika virus.

Last week, the World Health Organisation new research has strengthened the link between Zika and foetal abnormalities, and sexual transmission of the virus is more common than previously thought.

zika mosquito

Photo: 123RF

The acting deputy director for public health at the Pacific Community, formerly the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Dr Salanieta Saketa, said there needed to be more awareness about sexual transmission.

"That's a real worry, concern for Pacific island countries. Particularly in the sense that a lot of countries have young populations who are sexually active, and so we need to increase communication."

The WHO has upped its travel advisory, saying pregnant women should not to travel to areas of ongoing Zika outbreaks.

It is also advising pregnant women who have sexual partners who live in or travel to areas with Zika outbreaks to practise safe sex or abstain from sex during pregnancy.