The European Region of the World Health Organization published on Wednesday an announcement that Israel is one of 17 countries that have a “moderate risk” of the Zika virus arriving via mosquitoes.
The virus, which can cause health problems in fetuses of pregnant women bitten by such a mosquito, could spread here because mosquitoes with the potential of receiving transmission exist in the country; because of the high rate of urbanization and population density; and because of Israel’s widespread airline and ship connections with other countries.
Until now, the Health Ministry, which released the statement from the WHO, had said Israel has a low risk of infection. It now reiterates that pregnant women should not travel to the Third World, but has not given specific instructions on what pregnant women in Israel should do if the virus arrives here.
The Zika infection is not considered to be dangerous, except when a pregnant mother is bitten, in which case there can be birth defects. The ministry advised those who are concerned to go to its website at www.health.gov.il/Subjects/ disease/zika/Pages/default.aspx.