According to new guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO), individuals who return from locations in which the zika virus is found should follow safe sex practices or abstain from sex for a period of at least eight weeks. This is a change from WHO’s previous guidelines, which specified abstention or safe sex practices for four weeks after returning from a zika area. WHO revised its advice because researchers found that the virus remains in blood and other body fluids for a longer period of time than originally thought. If the male partner of a couple that is planning a pregnancy shows symptoms of the virus, WHO recommends that the period of abstinence be extended to six months. When asked if the new advice was essentially a ban on pregnancies in Brazil, spokesman for WHO Christian Lindmeier stated the advice is to delay or consider a delay in a pregnancy. He noted that this is a difficult issue for some populations. He also said that scientists continue to investigate how long traces of the zika virus remain in saliva; tests have been inclusive on this matter to date.
Countries and territories reporting active mosquito transmission of Zika virus:
- The Caribbean currently includes: Aruba; Barbados; Bonaire; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Haiti; Jamaica; Martinique; the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a US territory; Saint Barthelemy; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sint Maarten; Trinidad and Tobago; US Virgin Islands
- Central America currently includes: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
- The Pacific Islands currently includes: American Samoa, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga
- South America currently includes: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela
- Cape Verde