Canada: Travel-related Zika virus cases in Canada: October 2015–June 2017

January 4, 2018, By Christine Dumontet

Government of Canada: Canada Communicable Disease Report (CCDR)
Travel-related Zika virus cases in Canada: October 2015–June 2017 ( Summary)
Background: Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging mosquito-borne disease that can cause severe birth defects if contracted congenitally. Since late 2015, there has been a large increase in the number of travel-related cases of Zika virus infection in Canada.
Objective: The objective of this study was to describe the epidemiology of travel-related Zika cases in Canada from October 2015 to June 2017 and review them in the context of the international outbreak in the America
As of June 7, 2017, 513 laboratory confirmed cases and two Zika-related birth/fetal anomalies were reported across all 10 provinces.
Illness in Canadian travellers generally coincided with outbreak intensity in the country of exposure rather than travel volume.
There has been no evidence of autochthonous (local) transmission in Canada. Currently, cases are on the decline both in Canada and internationally.
The surge in Canadian ZIKV infections in 2016 was directly related to the incursion and spread of ZIKV into the Americas.
Although cases are now on the decline worldwide, it remains to be seen whether a resurgence of cases in previously affected or new areas will occur.
Both outbreak intensity and seasonality of ZIKV transmission should be monitored over time in order to inform the timing of public health education campaigns, as some may turn out to be more effective in the off-peak travel season when the risk of disease transmission may be higher.
Ongoing education and awareness among travellers, particularly for pregnant women and those planning pregnancies, is still indicated.
For more information: Editorial:  Zika virus: Where to from here?
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