The Zika virus, linked to brain damage in babies, has already been found in Australian travellers returning from South America.

The mosquito-borne virus was found in six Australians last year, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. But all were infected overseas.

"There have never been any locally acquired cases of Zika virus infection reported in Australia," a federal health department spokeswoman told the newspaper.

Professor Dominic Dwyer, a virologist from Sydney's Westmead Hospital, told the ABC: "There have been some people who have come back to Australia who've had Zika virus infection.


"But what we haven't had is evidence of the spread of the infection from one person to another in this country.

"The main mosquito carriers of the virus are not present to any great degree in Australia, except perhaps up in the top end of Queensland.

"But we're not entirely sure yet whether some of the Australian mosquitoes could carry Zika virus."

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued new advice warning Australians, particularly pregnant women, to reconsider plans to travel to 20 countries affected by the virus.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) has advised pregnant New Zealanders to consider delaying travel to areas with Zika virus present.