As of 5 February 2016, PHE has defined countries with active Zika virus transmission as those with confirmed (vector bourne) cases within the last 9 months and are consistent with the list of countries provided by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC).
As you will have seen in the news there is particular concern for those who are or might be pregnant. Please read the message from the MOD to find out more about the virus, the potential risks and what you need to do next. Read more
Zika is a virus which is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes which mainly bite during the day rather than at night. The infection can occur without symptoms in 80% of cases or it can cause symptoms similar to influenza which are usually mild (low grade fever, joint pains, itching, rash, red eyes/conjunctivitis, headache, muscle pains and eye pain). Further detailed information about the disease can be found here.
Recent reports from Brazil indicate an unusual increase in the number of babies born with birth defects such as an abnormally small head and microcephaly (an underdeveloped brain). The Ministry of Health in Brazil recently identified a possible relationship between the Zika virus and the increase in the number of microcephaly cases. We do not yet have firm evidence of the link because the situation is evolving but there is sufficient concern for the MOD to advise patients about the safe management of pregnancy in South and Central America.
Scrupulous protection from mosquito bites is the best form of minimising the risk of being infected by the Zika virus. However, it is not possible to do this with 100% effectiveness and there is no vaccine that protects against Zika infection or medication that treats it.
Therefore, women who are (or may be) pregnant in a Zika affected country should contact MOD DPHC OVERSEAS (details below) to discuss options for safe care and to consider whether to spend the duration of their pregnancy outside the Zika affected region.
AH Overseas +44 (0)1543 434703 SGDPHC-AHOverseas@mod.uk
SO1 Overseas +44 (0)1543 434704 SGDPHC-OverseasPHC@mod.uk
SO2 Overseas +44 (0)1543 434715 SGDPHC-OverseasSO2PHC@mod.uk
WO Overseas +44 (0)1543 434702 SGDPHC-OverseasWO@mod.uk
In June 2014 SSAFA and GST Care developed the new patient wise website so that you can get information 24/7 on accessing health services in your area. Whether you or your family need round the clock urgent medical advice, access to GP services or have to go into hospital, the patient wise website can help. For more information click here.
For advice and information on the medical treatment and local health services available in BFC you are advised to read Defence Instructions and Notices (DIN) 2013DIN01-141 - Healthcare Provision in BRITISH FORCES CYPRUS (BFC) – Directory of Local Health Services and Medical Screening Advice. In Annex A of this DIN there is a table that details the medical treatment that is unlikely to be available in BFC. For more information click here.
It is important to remember that there is no provision to provide free medical and dental facilities treatment for visitors to the British Forces/MOD civilian personnel serving in Cyprus. It is essential that all visitors obtain adequate medical insurance cover before they arrive in Cyprus. EU travellers should also apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which should provide certain healthcare cover within the Cypriot health care system.
Defence Medical Services have entered into a contract with YGIA Polyclinic Private Hospital. So for those Serving with British Forces in Cyprus, complaints or concerns are raised through Significant Event Reports (S.E.R.s). All complaints should be in writing using the form at appendix B in the Policy and Procedure on Handling and Investigating Complaints document which is used throughout the bases and it will then be sent to YGIA Polyclinic Private Hospital via the Patient Safety Manager. To download the Policy and Procedure on Handling and Investigating Complaints PDF click here.
EHIC will enable you to access state-provided healthcare in European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland, at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. It will cover your treatment until you return to the UK. For more information, click here. You can now apply online for your EHIC.
British Army and Maternal Healthcare Support British Ghurkhas Nepal (BGN) and British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK)
The British Army and Defence Primary Healthcare (DPHC) where possible endeavour to provide Service personnel and their families with appropriate and equivalent levels of health, educational and welfare support when assigned overseas. The British Army and the DPHC give maternity and neonatal care the utmost priority and if the support and care is not equivalent to that given in the UK the pregnant family member or Servicewoman needs to be returned to the UK for their delivery. This is the case for British Ghurkhas Nepal (BGN) and British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK). The Army Medical Directorate (AMD) recommends that pregnant women in these areas should return to the UK no later than into the 32nd week of their pregnancy and for high risk pregnancies this may be earlier. For more information click here.
Service couples living in British Forces Germany (BFG) and the Netherlands and Belgium (EJSU) will not receive funding for assisted conception treatment but there is support for fertility investigations to entitled couples.
There is also funding for surgery to correct any anatomical abnormality that is causing the infertility. For more information on assisted conception, speak to your doctor.
BFC does not fund assisted conception treatment but will fund fertility investigations up the point of diagnosis. If you require assisted conception treatment, they will advise you to return to the UK. For more information, speak to your doctor.
It is not advisable to have IVF or other infertility treatment in any other overseas bases because treatment cannot be quality assured or regulated in line with national UK guidelines.
If you are considering having IVF treatment overseas it is advisable to visit the HFEA website for more information and guidance.