Third Zika virus case confirmed in Quebec

A third Quebecer has contracted the Zika virus. Health Minister Gaétan Barrette says the person recently returned from Brazil.

Quebec public health officials downplay fears of an outbreak in the province

The Aedes aegypti mosquito spreads the Zika virus, as well as dengue fever and chikungunya. (James Gathany/CDC/Associated Press)

Two more cases of the Zika virus were confirmed in Quebec today, bringing the total number of infected people to three.

On Monday morning, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette confirmed that one person contracted the virus on a recent trip to Brazil.

He said that Quebecer is now at home, suffering from flu-like symptoms.

Later, on Monday afternoon, the ministry confirmed another case.

The first case, confirmed by authorities last Friday, involved a woman who was infected while travelling in the Caribbean in early January.

'Practically zero' risk in Quebec

Quebec public health officials have sought to downplay fears of an outbreak of the Zika virus.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec's director of public health, said last Friday the chances of contracting the virus in Quebec are "practically zero." 

The type of mosquito that transmits Zika is not present in Quebec, he added.

Arruda did warn that Quebecers who visit Central and South America should take precautions, especially women who are pregnant or thinking about having children.

The Zika virus is believed to have a connection to microcephaly, a rare neurological birth defect characterized by an abnormally small head that can lead to developmental issues or even death.