Zika virus – related conditions

The mosquito-borne Zika virus has been dominating the news since it first hit in December. The virus, when contracted by pregnant women, has been linked to microcephaly, a rare birth defect.

It may also be causing another serious health condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome, where the body’s immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system, paralyzing the carrier for weeks. Although very rare, it can affect individuals of all ages.

Where the Zika virus is found

Zika has spread throughout the Americas with cases reported in Brazil, Chile (Easter Island), Colombia, El Salvador, French Guyana, Guatemala, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Venezuela and others.

Planning a trip to the tropics?

Travellers thinking of heading to the tropics may want to reconsider. The list of Zika-affected countries has grown in the past week. Check out the World Health Organization’s complete list of countries that have reported the Zika virus.

Pregnant woman at doctor’s office
Pregnant women or those planning to conceive should discuss their travel plans with their health care providers.

Pregnant or planning to become pregnant? Consider postponing travel to areas with Zika.

The Government of Canada recommends pregnant women and those planning to conceive, talk about their travel plans with their health care providers to help them assess their risk. They may want to consider postponing travel to areas where the Zika virus is present. If a trip is impossible to postpone, then it’s best to take serious precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Travel insurance for the Zika virus 

All travellers who must travel to a Zika-affected country should make sure to get comprehensive travel medical insurance first.

If you’re already travelling, check out our 3 tips to prevent mosquito bites and how your existing medical plan should cover you for an unexpected sickness like the Zika virus.

If you haven’t left yet and are thinking of cancelling your trip, your Trip Cancellation/Interruption policy may cover you. However, the Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada or Public Health Agency Canada must have issued a formal advisory recommending people avoid all or non-essential travel to affected destinations within your travel dates.

Note: At this time, the Canadian Government hasn’t issued a formal travel advisory for any Zika-affected countries. Keep up-to-date by visiting the Government of Canada’s website or follow us on Twitter for updates.

Safe travels,

Sarah