One case of the Zika virus has been confirmed in Alberta, according to Alberta Health, with two in B.C., the BC Centre for Disease Control told Calgary Buzz.
In both B.C. cases, the patients made a full recovery and contracted the virus in Central and South America, not Canada. Reports suggest the two cases originated from El Salvador and Colombia.
The virus is transmitted through mosquito bites and presents with mild or no symptoms. Zika virus is especially risky to pregnant women, as it can cause severe birth defects, but only 25% of patients present symptoms.
Symptoms include low-grade fever, a red rash on the skin, pain behind the eyes, conjunctivtis, and lack of energy.
While the Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a health notice regarding Zika virus, they say the disease-carrying species of mosquito isn’t present in Canada due to a colder climate.
Canadians are being advised to protect themselves against the virus if they’re travelling to affected areas, mostly in Central and South America. The World Health Organization said the virus spreads rapidly in the Americas, as the population doesn’t have immunity.
An increase of microcephaly cases have been recorded in Brazil since October of 2015. Microcephaly is a condition in which an infant is born with an abnormally small head.
There’s currently no vaccine to treat the virus.
The WHO says there are many unanswered questions regarding Zika virus.
Dr Aylward: In the face of so much uncertainty [on #ZikaVirus] it is important to demonstrate caution particularly around pregnant women
— WHO (@WHO) January 28, 2016