Looks like West Nile Virus isn’t the only reason you should fear the mosquito.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a travel notice for the Zika virus, which was recently introduced to the Americas. Previously native only to Africa and Asia, the virus is passed when an infected mosquito bites a victim. Normally, this wouldn’t be such a big deal. While symptoms can include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, the majority of people with the Zika virus experience no symptoms at all.
When it comes to pregnant women, however, the virus takes on a much more sinister form.
Researchers are concerned about the still-unproven link between Zika and a sudden rise of babies born in Brazil suffering from a condition called microcephaly, which leaves newborns with small heads and underdeveloped brains. And when we say “still unproven”, don’t get the wrong idea. A Brazilian investigation found in 2015 that there had been a 20-fold increase in the amount of children being born with microcephaly in regions the Zika virus was known to circulate.
As a result, governments in some of the affected countries are asking families to delay getting pregnant. Canadians, meanwhile, should postpone all non-essential travel to a host of countries in South and Central America, and in the Caribbean (sorry, snowbirds). If you’re unsure about whether or not it’s safe to fly abroad, consult your doctor. It’s always better to be safe in this scenario, because there is no cure for the Zika virus.
Here are all of the regions where it has been reported:
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- French Guiana
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Martin
For more information on how you can keep yourself protected, check out the video above.