Zika is unprecedented as a mosquito-borne disease that can cause birth defects. That’s why it’s considered so important to protect pregnant women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 80 per cent of people infected with Zika virus have no symptoms. In others, the infection is mild, with symptoms that include fever, headache, conjunctivitis or pink eye and skin rash, along with joint and muscle pain.
The current Zika outbreak was first detected last year in Brazil, where it has been linked to more than 1,700 cases of microcephaly, a birth defect marked by small head size that can lead to severe developmental problems.
As of Thursday, 205 travel-related cases, including two sexually transmitted cases, have also been reported in Canada.
Travellers are advised to take precautions such as protecting themselves from mosquito bites. Active Zika outbreaks have been reported in at least 55 countries or territories, most of them in the Americas, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The World Health Organization says as of Wednesday, 15 countries or territories have reported microcephaly and central nervous system malformations associated with Zika virus infection in pregnancy. It says Canada is the latest country to report such a case associated with a travel-related Zika infection.