Zika virus vectors and risk of spread in the WHO European Region

The largest outbreak of Zika virus disease ever recorded began in the continental Americas in 2015. Since then, the geographical distribution of Zika virus has steadily widened, and local transmission has been reported broadly in the Region of the Americas.

In the European Region, the risk of local Zika virus transmission is low during the winter season, as the mosquito is still inactive. In late spring and summer, the risk for spread of Zika virus increases. While A. aegypti is the primary Zika vector, A. albopictus, which is present in 20 European countries, has been shown to be able to transmit Zika virus and remains a potential vector for its spread. 

European countries, especially those in which A. aegypti and A. albopictus are present, need to be well prepared to protect their populations from the spread of Zika virus disease and its potential neurological complications, including microcephaly.