The Public Health Agency of Canada has confirmed Canadian travel-related cases of the Zika virus from Central and South America as well as the Caribbean but say that the mosquito that carries the virus is not present in the country.
The Public Health Agency notes that since the Zika virus is spread via mosquito bites, people traveling to regions where the virus is active should protect themselves from mosquito bites, especially pregnant woman.
While the Zika virus has been known in Africa and parts of Asia since the 1950s, it emerged in South America in 2015, particularly in Brazil and Colombia. Health officials say that between 20 and 25 percent of those infected with the Zika virus actually develop symptoms which include joint pain, a low-grade fever, red eyes, physical weakness, headaches and rash.
The incubation period for the virus ranges from three to 12 days, while symptoms are generally mild and last between two and seven days. They say that most people fully recover without severe complications and that hospitalization rates are low. They also say that the Zika infection can go unnoticed or misdiagnosed for another mosquito-borne virus such as dengue, chikungunya or another viral infection that causes fever and rash.
Travelers can protect themselves against the virus by using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing and utilizing screen doors and windows. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for Zika virus. For an update on infected countries, visit WHO.