Zika virus risk in Peel is low: Public health

(Photo: Public Health Agency of Canada)
(Photo: Public Health Agency of Canada)
BY KELLY ROCHE
Someone in Texas has contracted Zika virus through sexual contact with an ill person who returned from Venezuela, American public health officials announced Tuesday, but their counterparts in Peel Region said there’s a “low” risk of being infected.
“Peel Public Health is monitoring the situation and taking necessary precautions,” said associate medical officer of health Dr. Lawrence Loh.
Health officials worldwide have expressed concern over the current outbreak spreading through the Americas.
Experts were aware the virus can be isolated in semen and blood, however, Zika virus infection is typically carried to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito – the same ones spreading dengue and chikungunya.

Thousands of babies, mostly in Brazil, have been born with underdeveloped brains.

“Now that we know Zika virus can be transmitted through sex, this increases our awareness campaign in educating the public about protecting themselves and others,” Dallas County Health and Human Services director Zachary Thompson said in a statement.
“Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections.”
The World Health Organization has declared the virus a global public health emergency, while the Public Health Agency of Canada released a travel notice for several South and Central American countries last month.
“There have been no reported cases of locally acquired Zika, as mosquitoes known to transmit the virus are not established in Canada and are not well-suited to our climate,” said Loh, adding protocols “are in place to respond to infectious disease situations in Peel.”
For pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant, Loh is advising them to discuss travel plans with health care providers to assess their risk.
Women should “consider postponing travel to areas where the Zika virus is circulating in the Americas. In cases where travel cannot be postponed, strict mosquito bite prevention measures to protect themselves against bites should be followed,” he said.
Pregnant women returning from affected areas who believe they could’ve been exposed to mosquitoes should contact their health care provider and provide information on travel prior to illness, Loh said.
The virus was first isolated in Uganda’s Zika forest in 1947, according to the WHO.
@qewsouthpost

MAIN SYMPTOMS

  • low-grade fever (38.5C or lower)
  • a flat, red rash on the skin covered with small bumps (maculopapular rash), which often starts on the face and spreads to the body
  • short-term muscle or joint pain
  • possible joint swelling, mainly in the smaller joints of the hands and feet
  • pain behind the eyes
  • conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • weakness
  • lack of energy
  • headaches
Only one in four people infected with Zika virus are believed to develop symptoms. It usually takes between three to 12 days for symptoms to appear after infection. The disease symptoms are usually mild and last for two to seven days.

TREATMENT
  • Currently, there is no treatment for Zika virus. Treatment aims to relieve symptoms. Most people fully recover without severe complications.
  • Taking a pain reliever that contains acetylsalicylic acid should be avoided until infection with dengue virus has been excluded.

(Source: Public Health Agency of Canada)

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