WHO updates classification of countries at risk for Zika virus

WHO released today the Zika virus country classification scheme (interim guidance). The updated classification of countries can help public health authorities and policy-makers to assess the risk of Zika virus infection according to place and time of transmission and the location of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry the virus.

For the first time, the updated classification includes a category of at-risk countries that have the Aedes aegypti mosquito but no known documented Zika virus transmission. All countries with Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are at risk of Zika virus transmission, particularly in light of global travel.

The mosquito Aedes aegypti is present in specific geographical areas in the WHO European Region, as highlighted in WHO/Europe’s Zika virus technical report: Interim risk assessment for the WHO European Region, from May 2016. Although there has been no known mosquito-borne transmission of Zika in the European Region, countries with Aedes aegypti need to be on high alert. This is particularly true with the approach of mosquito breeding season during the spring and summer months.