The Canadian Press is publicly addressing the possible Zika Virus outbreak that could swarm the western hemisphere this coming summer.
According to the Canadian Press, The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a public warning for all individuals who hope to get pregnant in the coming months. The Agency suggests waiting two to three months to get pregnant for individuals recently arriving from countries where Zika Virus outbreaks are circulating.
In Brazil especially, the virus has possibly been linked to thousands of newborn mutations. Risks of malformations increase within mothers infected with the virus before or during pregnancy.
Cases of Zika have reached near-epidemic levels in some latin American regions like Brazil, Central America, the Caribbean, and some parts of South America.
In the both the United States and Canada, individuals have been diagnosed with Zika after visiting Zika “hotspots” in the last few months. The virus is spread by infected bites from mosquitoes carrying the disease.
At the moment, transmission of the virus is still ambiguous. In a select few cases, the virus may have been sexually transmitted from male to female.
Canada’s federal agency suggests the use of condoms during sex for those who have recently travelled to areas where the virus has circulated. Until more is known about the disease, men and women who are “at risk” of having Zika should wear protection before having sex with their partners. The agency also suggests that women who are pregnant reconsider or postpone travel plans to infected areas.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations have been a bit more measured than those of The Canadian Public Health Agency. The CDC has issued travel advisories for pregnant travellers, as well as guidelines for protecting oneself against mosquito bites. The CDC’s website also recommends practicing enhanced precautions if travelling to any area with Zika virus outbreaks.
Zika is currently circulating in subtropical and tropical areas, and has yet to spread with any significance into the United States. However as the United States approaches the summer months, American cities may see a surge in infections in warmer weather. For the time being, the Washington Post reports that the disease is expected to spread with some significance throughout all countries in the Americas except for Canada and Chile because of climate conditions.
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