A team of Canadian and US researchers is working on developing a vaccine for the Zika virus.
That group includes Dr. Gary Kobinger, who helped develop the Ebola vaccine ZMapp at the National Microbiology Lab here in Winnipeg.
Though the mosquitoes that transmit the virus don’t exist in Canada, travelers heading south to the Americas or South Pacific could be exposed.
Today, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer warned women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant to consider cancelling those travel plans.
Researchers in Brazil have found areas where Zika is prevalent are also seeing a spike in a birth defect called microcephaly, which causes abnormally small heads in infants.
Four Zika virus cases have been confirmed in Canada – none in Manitoba. All patients had been travelling outside the country.
While little is known about the virus and how it can be transmitted aside from mosquitoes, it is believed only one in four people infected with it develop symptoms.
Health officials want you to see your doctor if you experience the symptoms: low-grade fever, joint pain, red eyes, rash and generalized symptoms such as muscle pain, physical weakness, lack of energy and headaches.
Hospitalization rates are low and most people fully recover. There is no treatment for the virus.
More information about the virus can be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website.