Zika virus warning issued to New Brunswick travellers

The outbreak of the Zika virus in Central and South America is now starting to impact travel plans of some New Brunswickers.

Acting chief medical officer of health advises those heading to affected countries to take precaution

New Brunswick travellers cautions to be wary of travel to central and South America. 1:46

The outbreak of the Zika virus in Central and South America is now starting to impact on the travel plans of some New Brunswickers.

The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and has been found in about 20 southern countries. It is believed the virus is linked to birth defects.

Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell advises anyone who is pregnant or who has hopes to become pregnant in the near future to see advice from a health professional about travel to countries where the Zika virus is present. (CBC)
Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's acting chief medical officer of health, is warning potential travellers about the disease.

"Anybody that is pregnant, or choosing to become pregnant in the next little while, should really seek advice from their health-care professional about their travel plans, and make a decision about postponing, or not," said Russell.

Travel agent Marilyn Baird has already dealt with cancellations due to the virus.

"I was speaking with a colleague of mine who does a lot of destination weddings and she has had a couple of cancellations," said Baird. "There's been people in the wedding group, that were pregnant, who have chosen not to travel."

Travel agent Marilyn Baird is aware of people changing destination wedding plans because of the Zika virus. (CBC)
The World Health Organization has been dealing with what it terms an "explosive" outbreak for several weeks.

No cases of Zika virus are known to have originated in Canada, but some travelling Canadians have brought the virus back to the country with them.

Some people spoken to about the virus on Thursday in Fredericton said if there was a risk associated with the virus, they weren't prepared to take it.

"There's no way I would go anywhere," said Jennifer O'Leary.

"I'm sure that we would stay away from infected areas, or areas that were more prone to it," said Ruthie English.

"It's a concern, but I don't feel threatened by it, if that's what you mean," said Tianna Gerber. "I mean, any kind of disease or virus is upsetting, but I don't feel personally threatened by it."

Anyone travelling to any of the 20 affected countries is advised to take precautions, including the use of bug spray and netting to avoid any possible contact with mosquitoes.


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