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Zika virus

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Fact sheet - Health conditions directory.

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease which was first identified in 1947 in Uganda, Africa and has since spread to many tropical regions globally. A list of known affected countries can be found on the Australian Department of Health web site - Countries with current or recent active circulation of Zika virus.

Zika virus can be transmitted to humans by bites from infected Aedes mosquitoes primarily Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These mosquitoes can also transmit other diseases such as dengue fever. They are common in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. In Australia, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are common in northern Queensland towns (with smaller numbers in some areas of central and southern Queensland), but a local outbreak is likely only in areas that have had dengue fever in recent years. That area is eastern coastal towns from Charters Towers, Townsville and Cairns to the Torres Strait islands.

Aedes albopictus is currently only found in the Torres Strait.

Between 2013 and 2015 there were large outbreaks of Zika virus infection in a number of Pacific countries. Local transmission is ongoing in this region. Since 2015 large outbreaks have been occurring in central and southern America and are continuing.

There have been no outbreaks of Zika virus in Australia. However, people infected with Zika virus while overseas who return to an area where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are found could be the source of a local outbreak if they are bitten by the mosquito while unwell. After several days an infected mosquito can then pass the virus on to others.

Public health management guidelines


Pathology laboratories

Attending medical practitioners/medical superintendents (or delegates)

In north Queensland and other areas where Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitos are known to be present, treating doctors should notify clinically suspected cases to the relevant local public health unit immediately, before laboratory results become available.

Notification resources

Enhanced surveillance for public health units

Case report form (PDF, 200kB) - used by public health units to collect and manage more detailed information for enhanced case surveillance.

Resources for health professionals

Last updated: 5 June 2023

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