Zika Virus Monitoring with PHAC
The Public Health Agency of Canada has recently confirmed travel-related cases of Zika virus from Central and South America, and from the Caribbean. Since Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites, travellers to countries where the Zika virus is actively circulating, particularly pregnant women or those considering becoming pregnant, should protect themselves from mosquito bites. Mosquitoes known to transmit the virus to humans are not present in Canada.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is working with its national and international partners, including the World Health Organization, to monitor the Zika situation and is working with the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) and other national health professional organizations to develop clinical guidelines for identifying and managing suspected Zika virus cases.
Risk to Canadians
Based on PHAC’s Rapid Risk Assessment, the overall risk to Canadians, in Canada, is very low. The risk to travellers to affected countries is low; however, pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant, should take special precautions.
Current evidence suggests that Zika virus is likely to persist and spread in the Americas and the South Pacific. Although the risk of virus establishment in Canada is low, there is ongoing risk to Canadians travelling to outbreak regions.
CPhA will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with PHAC to provide updates regarding the virus and the role of pharmacists and other health professionals in communicating with their patients.