Zika Virus

What is Zika virus?

Zika virus infection is transmitted by daytime-biting Aedes mosquitoes. Zika virus is closely related to dengue, West Nile virus, and Japanese encephalitis. The resulting influenza-like syndrome is often mistaken for dengue or chikungunya. Symptoms include: fever, headache, malaise, muscle aches, rash (reddened skin covered with small bumps), joint pain, and eye redness.

How do I avoid it?

Insect precautions and personal protection measures against day-biting mosquitoes are the main prevention strategy. See Insect Precautions.

These mosquitoes usually have two peak biting periods during the day:

  • 2-3 hours after dawn
  • mid-to-late afternoon hours

In risky areas, travellers (and especially those who are pregnant) should be especially vigilant in applying repellent during daytime hours, particularly during peak biting times (early morning and late afternoon). See Tips for Pregnant Travellers.

Pregnant Travellers

Until more is known, some authorities are recommending that pregnant women (in any trimester) or those trying to become pregnant should consider postponing travel to Zika-affected areas.

In Brazil, there has recently been a significant increase in number of babies born with birth defects (congenital malformations), such as infants born with an abnormally small head and microcephaly (an underdeveloped brain). The Ministry of Health of Brazil recently identified a possible relationship between Zika virus infection and the increase in the number of microcephaly cases. An investigation to better understand the relationship between Zika virus infection and increased risk for microcephaly is ongoing.

To read more, please see the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Travel Health Notice.


Book an appointment

Book your appointment today by calling 604.736.9244. You can also request a call back (for those trying to call after hours — after 5:00 pm or during the weekend).

What is the VCH Travel Clinic?

The VCH Travel Clinic is a cost-recovery clinic — meaning any money that does not go towards overhead costs, goes back into Public Health. The clinic has also been designated as the Centre of Excellence in Travel Medicine for B.C. The VCH Travel Clinic is a “one-stop shop” that provides prescriptions, health advice, vaccine recommendations, and immunizations tailored to people’s medical history and travel itinerary (all in one place). The clinic also offers travel products.

Clinic locations

The clinic is located in Vancouver and operates a satellite clinic in Richmond.