Current Information on Zika Virus
Last Updated: 1 March 2017

On 2 February 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General discussed how the response and monitoring of Zika Virus spread has improved over the last year. The newborn abnormalities that have increased due to the Zika virus infection is now named “congenital Zika virus syndrome.” The Zika virus has been found to be able to spread through sexual contact, leading to further precautionary advice for men and women of childbearing age. The full WHO statement can be found here.

Since this time twenty-nine countries have reported similar incidences of microcephaly and central nervous system malformations “potentially associated with Zika virus infection,” according to the WHO.

The WHO as well as health authorities and agencies are now investigating the potential connection between microcephaly/neurological disorders and the Zika virus, in addition to other possible causes.  The WHO has indicated that more investigation and research is needed before we can determine the nature of this association.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

In light of these events, the UN Medical Services Division (MSD), as an occupational health service, with an obligation to manage occupational exposure to harm for UN Personnel, has developed a comprehensive set of recommendations for specified risk categories, including pregnant and non-pregnant UN personnel and dependents who reside in, or plan to travel into countries/areas where local transmission of Zika virus is known to occur. These recommendations have been recently updated on 1 March 2017.

Please consult this Risk Mitigation Plan and be sure to implement MSD's recommendations for the risk category that you fall under

MSD advises that pregnant UN Personnel should not undertake duty travel or be relocated to countries/areas where local transmission of Zika virus is known to occur.  Women who are seeking pregnancy should obtain individual advice from their medical practitioner on risk management regarding their plans to travel into an affected area. All UN Personnel travelling to a Zika-affected area should closely follow the UN Medical Services Division: Advice On Protection Against Mosquito Bites (English).

For the current list of countries and territories with where local transmission of Zika virus is known to occur, please refer to the list below.  

Category 1: 

American Samoa; Angola; Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Aruba; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bolivia (Plurinational State of); Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba – Netherlands; Brazil; British Virgin Islands; Cabo Verde; Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Fiji; French Guiana; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guinea-Bissau;  Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique; Marshall Islands; Mexico; Micronesia (Federated States of); Montserrat; Nicaragua; Palau; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Puerto Rico; Saint Barthélemy; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; Singapore; Sint Maarten; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Tonga; Turks and Caicos; Florida, Texas (USA) ; United States Virgin Islands; Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

Category 2:

Indonesia; Malaysia; Maldives; New Caledonia; Philippines; Thailand; Vietnam 

This list is taken from the latest WHO Zika situation report. On this page, please click "read the full situation report" and refer to Table 1.

Zika Virus Resources

Below are resources you may consult for more information on the Zika virus and precautions to take when travelling to areas in which the virus has spread. Please email if you have any questions related to Zika virus.

 Latest News on Zika Virus

 Medical Services Division (MSD) Guidance Documents

Zika Resources for UN Staff

World Health Organization (WHO):

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO):

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

 Zika Resources for UN Medical Staff

World Health Organization (WHO):

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO):

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC):

 Resources on Mosquito Bite Prevention and Vector Control

World Health Organization (WHO):

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO):

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

 The Emergency Preparedness and Support Team (EPST) recently launched the United Nations Emergency Notifications app for iPhone and Android smartphone or tablet devices. The information presented on this Zika Virus HR Portal website can be accessed through this app. The app will also send notifications to your device about important Zika updates and emergency information if and when necessary. Download the free app through the Apple Store for iPhones or Google Play for Androids.