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A Medical Officer in Manitoba says there is little reason for the general Canadian population to panic about the Zika Virus.
To put it into perspective, Dr. Richard Rusk with the Communicable Diseases department of Manitoba Health, says there was only about 1.5 million Zika infections last year worldwide, while 40 million got dengue, a different mosquito-transmitted virus.
That is partly why Dr. Rusk is not advising people to stay away from Zika affected areas.
"We're not saying you shouldn't go travel. We're just saying you need to be aware that there's something else, in addition all the other potential risks. We're still advising people to travel when we know there's dengue out there, there's malaria out there."
Pregnant women, Dr. Rusk cautions, are potentially at a greater risk of danger. He says there may be a link between Zika and birth defects, although the link is not entirely confirmed yet.
"If you're a woman that is pregnant, or a woman that is wanting to become pregnant, that's where it becomes a little bit more tricky. The science is not definitive yet, it's what we call associative science."
Dr. Rusk says there are several things travelers to Central and South America can do to protect themselves from Zika. Some of which includes using a DEET insect repellent when you are in the wilderness, sleeping with a mosquito net under your bed, purchasing medical travel insurance, and getting vaccinated for influenza and Hepatitis A and B.
He says even the kinds of clothing you wear can help protect you.
"The obvious other thing would be using long sleeves, and supposedly, if you use a light colour instead of a dark colour, that doesn't attract mosquitoes."
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued Travel Health Notices for Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Matinique, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, United States Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.