Travelling and Zika virus

Learn how to protect yourself from Zika virus when you travel.

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Where is Zika virus a risk?

Zika virus is usually spread by two species of mosquitoes that are found in warm, tropical climates. These mosquitoes cannot survive Canada’s colder climate.

The overall risk of Zika virus is low for Canadians travelling to countries and areas with reported mosquito-borne Zika virus. This is because most people don’t get sick or only develop a mild illness and recover in a few days. However, those planning a pregnancy, pregnant women, and their partners need to take special precautions to avoid infection and protect the fetus.

What are the risks of travelling to countries and areas with reported mosquito-spread Zika virus?

The risk to Canadians travelling to affected countries is low. Only 1 in 4 people infected with Zika virus develop symptoms.

What can you do to protect yourself from Zika virus?

There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika virus.

Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic at least 6 weeks before you travel.

If you’re travelling, you should protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. Mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus bite both in daylight and evening hours.

Zika virus can also be transmitted through sexual contact. Always use condoms correctly or avoid having sex while travelling in countries and areas with reported mosquito-spread Zika virus.

See our Travel Health Notice for more recommendations on how to protect yourself.

What should you do when you return to Canada?

If you travelled to an area or country with reported mosquito-spread Zika virus be alert.

Speak to a health care provider if you:

  • have or develop symptoms
  • are pregnant
  • become pregnant within 2 months of returning
  • are pregnant and have had unprotected sexual contact with someone who was diagnosed with Zika virus infection

You will need to tell your health care provider:

  • where you have been living and travelling
  • if you have had sexual contact with a Zika-infected partner

Postpone donating blood for 21 days following your return from an area or country with reported mosquito-spread Zika virus.

If you’re a male, for the first 6 months after returning to Canada from a country or area reporting mosquito-spread of Zika virus, you should:

  • always use a condom correctly with a pregnant partner for the duration of the pregnancy
  • always use a condom correctly or avoid having sex, with all sexual partners
  • postpone donating semen
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