Toronto residents at low risk from Zika virus, health experts say

Residents travelling to affected areas advised to take precautions

 

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is known to transmit the pika virus.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is known to transmit the zika virus. (Photo courtesy James Gathany/CDC )

As the Zika virus spreads through Southern and Central America, Toronto residents need to worry about the virus spreading here, health officials say.

According to a public health notice posted by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the mosquito-transmitted virus is a low-risk to Canadians because the type of insects known to carry the virus is not established in Canada and is not well suited to our climate.

Zika virus fast facts

About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill

The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash and joint pain

The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week

Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon

No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections

Particularly hazardous to women who are pregnant or might become pregnant

Treat the symptoms:
– Get plenty of rest
– Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
– Take medicines, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain

Source: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Residents planning to travel to the affected areas are advised to take precautions such as using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing to reduce their chances of being bitten and infected.

The virus is known to cause microcephaly (abnormally small head), a condition with potentially life-long consequences.

Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant are being advised by Health Canada to postpone or restrict travel to affected areas and to speak to their healthcare practitioner prior to departure.

There are no inoculations or treatments for the virus and treatment is generally limited to symptom relief.