Safety Abroad




Health Update: Zika Virus sexually transmissable

The Public Health Agency of Canada has updated their travel recommendations related to Zika Virus. These new recommendations state that women wishing to get pregnant should wait at least two months after their return from countries where Zika virus is circulating before trying to conceive.  They have also included recommendations for men to reflect the potential for sexual transmission of Zika from a males to females.  Men who have travelled to a country with an ongoing Zika virus outbreak should use condoms with any partner who could become pregnant for six months after their return. It is recommended that men who have a pregnant partner should use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy.

Please continue to refer the Public Health Agency of Canada website for the most up to date recommendations on Zika and other travel related concerns.

Health Update: Zika Virus

On February 1, 2016 the WHO declared the Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Zika Virus is transmitted through the Aedes mosquitos which generally bite in the morning and late afternoon/evening hours. Only one in four individuals infected with the virus are believed to develop symptoms. Symptoms include low grade fever, joint pain, red eyes, rash and generalized symptoms including muscle pain, physical weakness, lack of energy and headaches. These symptoms are generally mild and self limited.  The incubation period of Zika virus ranges between 3 and 12 days and the symptoms last between 2 and 7 days. Currently there is no treatment or vaccination against Zika virus. 

In November 2015, the incidence of newborn microcephaly (abnormally small head) in areas of Brazil where Zika virus circulates was found to be on average twenty-fold higher than elsewhere. Currently, investigations are ongoing to confirm whether Zika virus is the cause of these incidences. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada advises that travellers visiting affected areas should help protect themselves against Zika virus by taking individual protective measures to prevent mosquito bites, including using insect repellent, protective clothing, mosquito nets, screened doors and windows.

If you develop symptoms similar to Zika virus, please consult with a health care provider. 

For more information please consult the Public Health Agency of Canada website and Student Health Service's website.