Please see our Insight of 7 March 2017 for the latest position.
Updated 29 March 2016
In response to a widening geographical distribution of Zika virus, South Korea requires vessels coming from countries with reported Zika virus transmissions to be disinfected.
Gard’s correspondents in South Korea advise that the country has strengthened its quarantine inspection requirements in an attempt to avoid introducing the Zika virus via seagoing vessels. The Korean National Quarantine Station (NQS) has issued special arrival instructions for vessels that have called at countries with reported Zika virus transmissions and the requirements depend on the time elapsed since the vessel’s last visit to affected countries:
A list of affected countries, that is, countries with reported Zika virus transmissions, has been produced by the NQS, but is subject to change in accordance with any widening of the geographical distribution of Zika virus. See Hyopsung Surveyors’ circular of 23 March 2016 for additional details.
Zika virus situation report
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) situation report of 24 March 2016, the geographical distribution of Zika virus has steadily widened since the virus was first detected in the Americas in 2014. Zika virus transmission has been documented in a total of 61 countries and territories, and five countries, namely the United States, France, Italy, New Zealand and Argentina, have reported locally acquired infections in the absence of any known mosquito vectors, probably through sexual transmissions. Click here to access WHO’s Zika virus situation reports.
Although most people infected with the disease will have no symptoms, or only a slight fever and rash lasting from 2 to 7 days, the WHO is concerned about the observation of an increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome which coincided with Zika virus infections in the general public, as well as an increase in babies born with microcephaly (primarily in northeast Brazil).
It is worth noting that the WHO Director-General on 8 March 2016 stated that “reports and investigations from several countries strongly suggest that sexual transmission of the virus is more common than previously assumed”. The WHO, therefore, highlights the importance of making available information on the risk of sexual transmission of the Zika virus and the following travel measures are now advised:
WHO travel advise:
Source: WHO statement on the 2nd meeting of IHR Emergency Committee on Zika virus, 8 March 2016
Members and clients with vessels calling at ports in areas with reported Zika virus transmission are advised obtain information from local authorities that may apply to vessels and their movements, e.g. similar to the above mentioned vessel disinfection requirements in South Korea.
In addition, we recommend to:
Additional resources to help answer questions from our Members and clients include:
World Health Organization (WHO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The International Maritime Organization (IMO)
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)
Public Health England (GOV.UK)
We are grateful to Gard’s correspondents in South Korea, KOMOS Marine, Oil Pollution Surveyors & Adjusters Co., Ltd. and Hyopsung Shipping Corporation, for their assistance in preparing this alert.