Since 2015, the Zika virus (a mosquito-borne illness) has been reported in the following countries: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, United States Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.
The Government of Canada advises that travel is not restricted to these affected countries, but you should take special precautions to avoid bites by mosquitoes, such as wearing repellent with DEET, covering up, and sleeping under a bed net.
Health officials are concerned about Zika because there is a suspected link between Zika virus infection in pregnant women and children born with microcephaly—a condition in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected and associated with developmental delays among other complications.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, however, most people infected with Zika won’t get sick. Only one in five people infected with the Zika virus will show any symptoms. Illness among those who do exhibit symptoms is usually very mild, lasting from several days to a week.
The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (pink eye). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache.