Zika Virus Information

On this page: About Zika virus | What Rouge Valley's doing | More links & resources

Last updated: Feb. 5, 2016

With the recent worldwide news about Zika virus, we understand that our community members and patients may have questions and concerns. As your community hospital, we have developed this web page to provide some basic information about Zika virus and to let you know what Rouge Valley is doing.

Information on Zika virus is rapidly changing, which is why we recommend checking with the local, national and international disease control bodies, who would be the authorities on Zika virus. This web page also provides links for these organizations.


About Zika virus

How is it transmitted?

Zika virus is primarily spread to people through two specific species of Aedes mosquito. These mosquitos are found in large parts of the Americas, mostly in tropical regions (see list of Zika-affected areas). There is also evidence that the virus can be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her fetus, and possibly through blood transfusions or sexual contact.

What are the symptoms?

Only about 20% of those infected with the Zika virus develop symptoms. The most common symptoms are: fever, joint and muscle pain, rash, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Illness from Zika virus is usually mild, with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe cases of the disease that require hospitalization are not very common.

There is no vaccine or cure for Zika virus, and treatment is supportive.

What is the risk of Zika virus infection in Ontario?

Zika virus infections could show up in Ontario because of people returning from travel to countries where the virus is circulating. However, it's not possible for it to spread from mosquitos here because the specific species of Aede mosquitoes that transmit the virus are not native to Ontario.

What about if you are pregnant?

For women who are infected during pregnancy, there appears to be a risk of fetal malformation, especially microcephaly. This is still being explored, but until there are further studies, it's best to consider Zika virus as a possible cause of this serious outcome.

What is being recommended?

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends: “pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant discuss their travel plans with their health-care provider to assess their risk and consider postponing travel to areas where the Zika virus is circulating in the Americas. If travel cannot be postponed, then strict mosquito bite prevention measures should be followed to protect themselves against bites.”
The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends: “that pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to an area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If a pregnant woman is considering travel to one of these areas, she should talk to her health-care provider. If she travels, she should strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.”


What Rouge Valley's doing

Rouge Valley will collect laboratory specimens for Zika virus if we have a patient in the hospital who has the symptoms and has a recent history of travel to the affected areas where the virus is circulating.

However, if you are in the community and you think you may have Zika virus disease, it is recommended that you see your family doctor.


More links and resources

For the latest information on Zika virus, please check the following sites frequently for updates and news:

Travel notices

Additional Resources