Tony Gardner contracted Zika virus filming Death in Paradise

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 5 December 2016
Tony Gardner

Tony Gardner

Tony Gardner has revealed he contracted the Zika virus while shooting the next series of 'Death in Paradise' in the summer

Tony Gardner contracted the Zika virus while filming 'Death in Paradise' in the summer.

The 52-year-old actor - who is also a qualified doctor - fell unwell while shooting the next series of the detective drama in Guadeloupe, an island group in the southern Caribbean Sea, in August and believes the show could have been the culprit for "quite a lot" of the 265 Britons, who were infected, picking up the contagious disease.

Speaking in a podcast hosted by Sean Hughes, he said: "Quite a lot of them, possibly, come from the group of people that go out to Guadeloupe for six months a year to film."

However, the 'Last Tango In Halifax' star is convinced he's to blame for picking up the Zika virus - a disease spread by infected mosquitoes biting humans - because he was too lax on his repellent while he was on the island for two weeks.

He explained: "In retrospect I should have been more aggressive with the repellent. About a couple of hours before I flew out, I got a rash. And then for a week I wasn't particularly well with joint pain and swelling, didn't like the light, I just felt pretty rough."

The Zika virus is harmful for pregnant women or people wanting to start a family because it has been linked to severe birth defects and, in particular, small heads.

Tony - who has a daughter - said: "It's not a problem for me because I've finished my family. It's quite dangerous for people getting pregnant or men starting families."

The actor - who no longer practices as a doctor - has also hinted that his infected colleagues who helped shoot the series may become part of a medical case study.

He said: "Part of the study my friend's hopefully going to do is talking about this and the symptoms and how long they last. It's an ongoing thing and a very newish disease."

Although a small number of the cast contracted the virus, a spokesperson for the production team is adamant insect repellent was on hand at all times while filming.

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