Canadian Recommendations on the Prevention and Treatment of Zika Virus


What is Zika Virus?

Zika virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. This mosquito bites during the day and is most active at sunrise and sunset. It can bite even in shady areas and indoors. Some people have no symptoms when infected but 1 out of 5 people may have symptoms. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, rash, sore muscles and joints and red sore eyes. Rarely there have been reports of neurological and autoimmune complications. There is no vaccine to protect travellers therefore insect precautions should be followed. Similar measures protect against other insect-carried infections such as dengue fever and chikungunya which often occur in the same locations as Zika virus.

Insect precautions:

  • Cover skin with long sleeve shirts and pants. Consider treating outer clothing with permethrin product.
  • Wear light or medium-coloured clothing and avoid scented soaps and deodorants.
  • Apply insect repellent that contains either 30% DEET or 20% Icaridin, to exposed skin and clothing.
  • Nets should be used over cots, playpens and strollers to protect infants.

Report symptoms:

  • Present to an emergency department if you are acutely ill with fever after travel.
  • For health information 24 hours a day, call 811 in Alberta for advice from Health Link.
  • Inform your family doctor if you experience the symptoms above, up to 2 weeks after travel to a country with risk of zika virus transmission.
  • Contact us for a post-travel assessment at our Market Mall Executive Building location.