Caribbean News Service (CNS)
TORONTO, Canada, August 30 2016 – The Canadian government has updated its travel advisory for nine Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations, among a list of countries across the world because of the Zika virus.
The government has urged its citizens travelling to the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago, to “exercise a high degree of caution”.
It suggests that pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy should avoid travel to those countries.
“If travel cannot be avoided or postponed strict mosquito bite prevention measures should be followed due to the association between Zika virus infection and increased risk of serious health effects on their developing foetus,” the travel advisory states.
Zika is caused by a virus which is primarily spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to her developing foetus. In addition, Zika virus can be sexually transmitted, and the virus can persist for an extended period of time in the semen of infected males.
Symptoms of Zika virus can include fever, headache, conjunctivitis and skin rash, along with joint and muscle pain. The illness is typically mild and lasts only a few days and the majority of those infected do not have symptoms. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against Zika virus infection although trials are underway.