Zika virus epidemic feared in French Guiana

With 45 confirmed and 160 suspected cases of Zika virus infection, health authorities are concerned that an epidemic of Zika infections will occur. Since authorities estimate that up to 80 percent of the people infected with this virus have few if any symptoms, there are probably many more infected people already in the community. At present, the most affected areas include Caiena Island, Kourou, Saint-Laurent du Maroni and Mana.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Zika Fever.

Advice For Travellers

Travellers can minimize the risk of exposure by taking all necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Since infection with this virus usually causes a rather mild illness similar to flu, there may be many cases in the community that do not seek medical attention and are not reported to health authorities. There is growing scientific evidence that this virus may be the cause of microcephaly (small brain) in newborn infants. As a precautionary measure, women who are pregnant in their first trimester should consider postponing travel to countries where this virus is spreading or, at a minimum, take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

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