Zika Primer – What You Need To Know
The World Health Organization has declared Zika a “public health emergency of international concern”. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy avoid travel to countries with reported mosquito-borne Zika virus. Here is what you need to know before booking your next tropical holiday.
- Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes. However, it can also be transmitted through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners.
- The Aedes mosquito is the main carrier of Zika, dengue, chikungunya and other viruses. It typically lives in warmer climates, so Canadians are mostly at risk of exposure when travelling to tropical or subtropical destinations including locations in the United States
- People with Zika virus disease can have symptoms including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
- There is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of a serious birth defect (microcephaly) and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Links to other neurological complications are also being investigated.
- The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites.
- There are no vaccine or drug treatments for Zika.