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Information About the Zika Virus and Travel Plans

Are you planning to head south for some rest and relaxation? The Zika virus is spreading throughout some travel destinations, including South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

This virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, the same mosquito that carries chikungunya and dengue fever. Symptoms can include fever, headache, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and rash, along with joint and muscle pain. The illness is generally mild and lasts only a few days.

Pregnant women, however, may be at greater risk. The virus has shown to increase the risk of birth defects in babies (congenital malformations).

The Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending that women who are pregnant (or thinking of becoming pregnant) and planning to travel to affected countries talk to their doctor to assess the risk and consider postponing travel. If travel cannot be postponed, mosquito bite prevention measures should be followed.

Avoid skin exposure and cover yourself using long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks – even during the day (Zika virus is transmitted by daytime mosquitos). What to do?

  • Avoid skin from exposure to mosquitoes by wearing long sleeves, long pants, socks and hats. The Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitos in the daytime.
  • Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET and apply it every few hours as indicated by health authorities and according to instructions on the label Use netting if you sleep during the day.

The World Health Organization has published this Zika virus infection and Zika fever: frequently asked questions, which you can read, to learn more.

For travel updates, you can visit the Canadian government website at or be sure to contact your travel insurance provider for information on what your covered for.

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