There are now three confirmed cases of Zika virus in Canadians who recently traveled to countries in Central and South America.
Canadians are being advised to avoid traveling to countries that are affected by the explosive outbreak of the Zika virus which can cause neurological problems and birth defects.
The Zika virus is transmitted through mosquito bites but the mosquitoes that carry the virus are not present in Canada, due to the climate.
According to the Pan American Health Organization website, the list of countries that are linked to direct transmission of Zika virus include: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, US Virgin Islands and Venezuela.
You can find a full updated list of countries reporting cases of Zika virus on the World Health Organization website.
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that pregnant women or women who are considering becoming pregnant talk to their doctor and consider postponing any travel to areas where the Zika virus is circulating.
The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) is monitoring all public alerts on the Zika virus.
“Because this is a very rapidly evolving situation, we have to constantly, every day, look at global websites and see what is happening and how things are evolving,” explained Dr. Maurice Hennink, deputy medical health officer for RQHR.
He says there have been no reports or specific inquiries about Zika virus in the health region at this point. The health region is sharing all information with doctors and other health practitioners to know what to watch out for and to pass on to their patients.
Hennink says they advise people to check travel destinations with the Public Health Agency of Canada, and for pregnant women to talk to their doctors.