Nfld. & Labrador

First case of Zika virus confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador

The province's chief medical officer of health has confirmed that Newfoundland has seen its first case of the Zika Virus
The Aedes aegypti mosquito spreads the Zika virus, as well as dengue fever and chikungunya. (James Gathany/CDC/Associated Press)

One Newfoundland man has been diagnosed with a case of Zika virus, the insect-borne virus spreading around the world.

Newfoundland and Labrador's chief medical officer of health says that one adult male was diagnosed with Zika in April after a visit to the Caribbean. He initially sought treatment for a rash, and has since recovered from the illness.

Dr. David Allison did not provide information on the man's age, or where in the province he received treatment.

The virus has been linked with birth defects in newborns, including microcephaly — babies born with abnormally small heads associated with incomplete brain development.

However, Allison says in most cases the symptoms of the virus only constitute a mild illness and only about one in five people who carry the virus develop symptoms.

The Canadian government recommends that pregnant women should avoid travelling to countries with high levels of Zika activity.

Standard mosquito precautions for Zika virus include wearing long sleeves and pants, using insect repellent and closing windows and doors to keep out the day-biting mosquitoes.

Alison says said men who have been in a Zika-affected country should use condoms for six months after returning home when they engage in sexual intercourse.

Women should avoid trying to become pregnant for at least two months.

With files from Curtis Rumbolt