Zika Virus; Warnings for Travellers

by Wayne Ghesquiere on February 5, 2016

caribbean-291021_640Zika Virus has now spread over most of the Caribbean Islands, as well as Central and South America.  Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes and is from the same family as the dengue and West Nile viruses.  The majority of Zika virus infection cases present with fever, headache, joint pain, fatigue, rash and conjunctivitis.  Mild symptoms may last up to 1 week, more severe symptoms are rare; fatality rate is low. All travellers returning from risk areas should seek medical advise if experiencing zika-like symptoms within 2 weeks of returning home from a risk area.

For the Traveller…

Travellers are advised to practice daytime insect precautions.  There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for Zika Virus. Pregnant Travellers in any trimester should discuss with their health care provider and travel clinic before considering travel abroad.  Some health authorities are recommending pregnant travelers or those planning pregnancy should consider postponing travel to countries where there is risk of Zika virus.  An association between Zika virus infection and microencephaly is currently under investigation.  Microencephaly in infants can cause brain damage and often leads to death.   In Brazil in 2015, Zika Virus affected 3500 babies.

Travellers should seek travel health advice a minimum of 4-6 weeks before travelling abroad.  Contact the Nova Travel Clinic today to book an appointment for consultation at 250-370-2366.

First cases of Zika Virus have been reported in:

Dominican Republic has reported it’s first cases of Zika virus.  10 locally acquired and confirmed cases of Zika virus infection have been confirmed as of January 23, 2016.

US Virgin Islands has reported 1 locally acquired and confirmed case of Zika virus infection as of January 22, 2016.

Barbados has reported it’s first cases of Zika Virus.  There have been 3 locally acquired and confirmed cases as of January 15, 2016.

Bolivia has reported it’s first case of Zika Virus.  There has been 1 locally acquired and confirmed case of Zika virus as of January 15, 2016.

Ecuador has reported it’s first cases of Zika Virus; 2 locally acquired and confirmed cases of Zika Virus as of January 15, 2016.

Guadeloupe has reported it’s first cases of Zika Virus; 2 locally acquired and confirmed cases of Zika virus since mid-January 2016

Zika Virus History…

Zika Virus was first identified in a rhesus monkey population in 1947 in Uganda.  The first human cases were reported in 1952.  It wasn’t until 2007 that an outbreak was reported in Micronesia, this was the first detection of the virus outside of Africa and Asia.    In 2013 and 2014 Zika Virus spread to French Polynesisa and some Pacific Islands.  In 2015 the largest outbreak was reported in Brazil, and spread to countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Current rapid spread of the Zika virus is due to the proliferation of the Zika virus carrier, the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

For more information please see the:

 Health Map

Public Health Agency of Canada

World Health Organization

Zika Virus Fact Sheet

 

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