World Health Organization warns travelers, that the Zika virus is likely to spread to parts of Europe, including parts of the Mediterranean and Black Sea coast and the Balkans
The virus, which is carried by mosquitoes, has been detected in more than 50 countries and is linked to thousands of cases of a rare defect causing babies to be born with unusually small heads. The fear is now, that the virus can also be transmitted by travelers from infected regions to areas not yet infected.
WHO warns that the highest risk areas include popular holiday destinations such as the Portuguese island of Madeira, Greece, Turkey and Italy, as well as Balkan countries like Croatia and the Black Sea coasts of Russia, Georgia, and Bulgaria.
WHO is advising these countries to strengthen their national capacities and prioritize activities preventing a large Zika outbreak. Travelers going to these countries are advised to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes by using insect repellent and wear long-sleeved clothing.
Smartphone apps for mosquito protection
If you are traveling and worrying about the Zika virus, then you can download the Zika app for your smartphone informing about the global outbreak. The app contains a live-updated interactive map showing the affected countries and how many cases of Zika virus that has been reported in each country. The Zika app is currently only available for iPhone, but likely apps exists for Android as well. You can for example download the ZanzaMapp app if you are traveling to Italy. This app uses a heat map to show the areas with the highest concentration of mosquitoes and thus the highest risk areas of transmission of dangerous diseases to humans in Italy.
You can also find a variation of apps, which come in handy to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes that may carry the virus. You can for example download ultrasonic mosquito repellent apps, making a high-frequency sound, which is inaudible to humans and repelling mosquitoes. A large number of such apps exists and most of the apps can be downloaded for free, e.g. Anti Mosquito, No More Mosquitoes or Mosquito Blocker.