Zika virus expected to spread in Europe by this summer – WHO

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World Health Organisation calls on countries to prepare as Zika virus expected to spread in Europe in late spring and summer, Malta is shown as a "moderate" risk.

A new WHO report assesses the risk of a Zika virus disease outbreak occurring during late spring and summer in the European Region. While the overall risk is low to moderate, countries where Aedes mosquitoes are present are more likely to experience a Zika virus outbreak.

There is a "moderate" chance the virus will appear in a number of European countries where the Aedes albopictus – is endemic. The countries are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Romania, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and Vatican City.

The report contains a series of actions that WHO recommends for countries, according to their likelihood of Zika transmission.

WHO urges European countries, especially those with high and moderate likelihood of local Zika virus transmission, to follow these recommendations to prevent or rapidly contain a Zika virus disease outbreak.

WHO's support to European countries to prepare for and respond to health risks such as Zika virus disease is a key aspect of the reform of WHO's work in emergencies.

Photograph: Aedes albopictus mosquito (Asian Tiger)

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