Canada – The Canadian health officials had reported yesterday the confirmation of the first case of positive Zika virus sexually transmitted. This case was confirmed by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) National Microbiology Laboratory.

The case was a suspect from Ontario, where the individual might have contracted the virus from a sexual partner who was diagnosed with Zika virus after traveling to an affected country.

Incumbent Jane Philpott, Canada Health Minister since November 4, 2015. Credit: CANOE News

But this isn’t the only Zika virus case in Canada, as from April 25, there has been about 55 travel-related cases, and 1 locally acquired case through sexual transmission that has been reported in Canada.

Health officials remind Canadians that there have been no confirmed cases of locally-acquired Zika virus through mosquitoes, and that’s why the overall risk in Canada remains very low, since mosquitoes that are known to transmit the virus are not established in Canada and are not well-suited to our climate, but all confirmed Canadian cases of Zika virus occurred as a result of travelling to countries where Zika virus is circulating.

Canada is the ninth country to report evidence of person-to-person transmission of Zika virus, other than mosquito-borne transmission. Actually, the eight other countries that have confirmed Zika virus through mosquitoes are Argentina, Chile, France, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal and the United States of America. 

The ongoing Zika prevention while traveling

Women that are planning a pregnancy, it is strongly recommended that you wait for at least 2 months before trying to conceive to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.

In the case of male travelersZika virus can persist for an extended period of time in the semen of infected males, therefore, the recommendations are that if you have a pregnant partner, you should use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy. Also, it is strongly recommended that you and your partner wait to conceive for six months by using a condom. Finally, the last advice is that male travelers should consider using condoms with any partner for six months.

What’s Zika?

Zika virus is a member of the Flaviviridae family and is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. It is related to other pathogenic vector-borne flaviviruses including dengue, West-Nile, and Japanese encephalitis viruses but produces a comparatively mild disease in humans.

Since 2007 Zika virus has caused several outbreaks in the Pacific, and since 2015 it has spread in the Americas. These were the first documented transmissions outside of its traditional endemic areas in Africa and Asia.

Zika virus is considered an emerging infectious disease with the potential to spread to new areas where the Aedes mosquito vector is present.

Source: CIDRAP