The U.K. is to order airlines flying from countries affected by the Zika virus, which has been linked with birth defects, to spray insecticide inside plane cabins.

As currently happens on flights leaving countries affected by malaria, attendants will use the spray with the aim of killing any mosquitoes that might have joined the flight.

“I want to reassure people that the risk to the U.K. population is extremely low,” Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said in an e-mailed statement Friday. “We advise people traveling to affected areas to reduce the risk of themselves being bitten by wearing mosquito repellent, long sleeves and trousers. Pregnant women should consider avoiding travel to countries with the Zika virus.”

The Zika outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization on Monday. The virus is spreading in Latin America amid a spike in cases of microcephaly, a birth defect that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads.


This article was written by Robert Hutton from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Tags: health
Photo Credit: A British Airways Airbus A380, right, takes off in front of an Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner during the first day of the 50th Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport, north of Paris. Francois Mori / Associated Press