There is much talk about Zika virus in the media, particularly with regards to birth defects that may be a result of infection during pregnancy. Here are some key points about the virus and some helpful websites which provide more detailed information.
- Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.
- The virus is known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.
- The risk to Canadians is extrememly low.
- People with Zika virus disease usually have a mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis (pink eye), lasting for 2-7 days.
- There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available.
- The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.
- Infection during pregnancy may be linked to birth defects, in particular microcephaly (small head), and other poor pregnancy outcomes
- The Public Health agency of Canada is recommending that pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant discuss their travel plans with their health care provider to assess their risk and consider postponing travel to areas where the Zika virus is circulating in the Americas.
WHO Zika virus fact sheet
Canada Public health update from Jan. 25, 2016
Facts about microcephaly
CDC travel health notices
CDC Q&A for pregnant women
Areas with Zika virus (CDC)