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Rio Athletes Are Being Told To Use Condoms Or Go Without

Australians returning from the Rio Olympics are reminded to practise safe sex to prevent the potential spread of the Zika virus.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley says while Zika is usually spread by mosquitoes, there is a low risk of person-to-person transmission through sexual activity.

She encourages Australians returning from Brazil to be "conscious and cautious" about their potential exposure to the virus.

"If you've recently visited Rio for the Olympics, chances are you could have been bitten by a mosquito," Ms Ley said.

"This is no cause for alarm, but there are some simple tips the Australian government has developed to help identify symptoms of the virus and minimise its transmission."

Most cases of Zika display mild flu-like symptoms or nothing at all.

Those returning from Brazil are advised to use condoms or avoid unprotected sex for at least eight weeks - this should be extended to six months if diagnosed with Zika.

Exposure to Zika virus infection during pregnancy may cause severe birth defects including microcephaly.

Women who are pregnant or realise they are pregnant after returning from Brazil should see their doctor for advice.

Women who are pregnant and whose partner has returned from Brazil are advised to avoid unprotected sex for the duration of their pregnancy.

There have been 44 confirmed cases of Zika virus in Australia this year, all acquired overseas.

Measures are in place at first points of entry across Australia to minimise the risk of importation of the mosquitoes that can transmit Zika virus, including pest control of all aircraft arriving in Australia.

AAP; Photo: AAP

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