Zika virus epidemics in Colombia and Venezuela

Both Colombia and Venezuela are reporting wide spread transmission of the Zika virus.

In Colombia, 47,771 cases in 282 municipalities have been reported. In just the past week, there were more than 5,000 new cases.

In Venezuela, more than 500,000 cases have occurred. This country is also reporting an increase in the number of people with Guillian-Barre Syndrome, which is a relatively rare condition characterized by the rapid-onset of a neurological illness with muscle weakness that may develop over half a day to four weeks and that may affect the breathing muscles.

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

Advice For Travellers

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for this infection. Travellers can minimize the risk of exposure by taking all necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

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.

Although the association between Zika virus and the development of the Guillian-Barre Syndrome has not been confirmed by further scientific evidence, there is increasing concern that Zika may be implicated. If neurological symptoms appear after visiting areas where Zika virus is present, travellers should consult their physician immediately.

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