Huron County, ON – At this time of year when many consider winter vacations, the Huron County Health Unit reminds residents to be safe when travelling in different countries.
Many health agencies, including the World Health Organization, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Public Health Ontario are assessing and monitoring the spread of the Zika virus. The Zika virus is spread by certain mosquitoes. Zika has been linked to a cluster of birth defects in Brazil, although no direct causal link has yet been found.
“If you plan to travel in areas where the Zika virus is circulating, including parts of South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, learn the health risks associated with that travel and take measures to prevent mosquito bites,” says Dr. Janice Owen, Huron County Acting Medical Officer of Health. “These measures include using approved insect repellent 20 minutes after applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothing and staying in accommodations with mosquito nets, screened doors and screened windows.”
If you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, and have travel plans to areas where Zika is circulating, talk to your healthcare provider to assess your risk and consider postponing travel. If travel cannot be postponed, then follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures to protect yourself against bites.
After returning from travel in areas where Zika is circulating, please see your health care provider if you have symptoms of Zika virus infection. Symptoms can include fever, headache, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and rash, along with joint and muscle pain. The illness is typically mild and lasts only a few days.
Imported cases of Zika virus infection may arise in Ontarians returning from travel to countries where Zika virus is circulating. However, local spread of Zika in Ontario is not possible because the types of mosquitoes that spread Zika mosquitoes are not native to Ontario. The province’s Aedes species are not known to transmit Zika virus.
This situation is a reminder that when you are travelling outside of Canada, it’s important to seek out health information about the area you will be travelling to from your healthcare provider, local pharmacist, or a travel clinic.
For a list of travel health services that Huron County residents can go to, visit huronhealthunit.ca/travel.
For more information:
Our media contact is: Rita Marshall, Communications Co-ordinator, 519.482.3416 (1.877.837.6143) ext. 2023 or email@example.com
Our spokesperson is: Dr. Janice Owen, Acting Medical Officer of Health, Huron County. Our media contact will connect you to the spokesperson on this topic.