Zika Virus & Aviation (IFALPA Bulletin)
The Secretary General of ICAO has issued the following bulletin to States and Organizations regarding the Zika Virus:
- On 1 February 2016, Zika virus disease was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (WHO). A total of thirty-three States have reported indigenous circulation of Zika virus. There is also indirect evidence of local transmission in six additional States.
- The virus is transmitted primarily by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. It usually results in mild symptoms in adults, with 80 per cent of people not presenting with any symptoms. However, an association has been observed between Zika virus, congenital abnormalities and neurological disease, although a causal relationship has not been proven.
- ICAO is collaborating with WHO to ensure the aviation sector plays a supporting role in minimizing the risk of spreading the disease internationally and of travellers becoming infected, especially women who may be pregnant. Regulatory authorities are therefore encouraged to maintain close contact with their State’s “National International Health Regulations Focal Point” for relevant up-to-date information on national public health risks as the disease evolves which will ensure that a collaborative approach between the aviation and public health sectors can be implemented. Relevant public health information concerning Zika virus risks should be disseminated to aviation stakeholders in the State.
- Guidance material on aircraft disinsection (the elimination of insects through the use of pesticides) has been published on the WHO web site. Annex 5 of the International Health Regulations (2005) requires interna- tional airports to implement programmes to control “vectors” (such as the Aedes mosquito) to a minimum distance of 400 metres from areas where travellers and cargo may be found. States affected by the Zika virus or that may become affected are encouraged to ensure that the competent authority has such programmes in place and that they are effective.
For additional information please visit the websites provided in the second page of the IFALPA Safety Bulletin.