Canada’s chief public health officer on Friday said that the mosquito-borne Zika virus has been confirmed in at least four Canadians.
According to Dr. Gregory Taylor, two of the Zika virus cases were reported from British Columbia, western Canada, one from Quebec and another from Alberta. All the cases were travel-related infections where the patients recently came from Zika virus-affected areas like South, Central America and the Caribbean.
Dr. Taylor further said that the mosquitoes which are responsible for spreading the Zika virus are not found in Canada as the country’s close climate is inhabitable for them. Other health officials have also predicted that the virus may not spread in Canada because of its climate, Dr. Taylor said, “So the risk of Zika virus infection in Canada is considered very low.”
Although most of the people who contract the Zika virus do not exhibit any symptoms, however, the symptoms of the virus are very similar to dengue or chikungunya. Some of the symptoms of Zika include fever, red eyes, muscle pain, lethargy, headache and weakness.
Dr. Taylor also said that although the main source of transmission of the virus is through mosquitoes but an infected pregnant woman could also transmit the virus to her child.
The health officials in Latin America have suspected a possible association with the Zika virus cases and an increasing number of birth defect cases of microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition where newborns are born with unusually small heads. Thousands of babies in brazil have been born with the birth defect and several of them seemed to have contracted the Zika virus.
Commenting on the suspicion, a Canadian Public Health Agency notice said that the association is a matter of concern.
There is no cure, treatment or vaccine yet for the Zika virus. However, a group of US and Canadian scientists are working on a potential vaccine.