B.C.’s Centre for Disease Control says the number of confirmed Zika cases in the province have more than quadrupled in the last six months from 11 to 47, including three pregnant women.
The B.C. CDC said most of the people had travelled to Mexico and were bitten by mosquitoes both inside and outside of resort areas.
Zika is primarily transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have previously bitten an infected person, though sexual transmission can also occur. Most infected people don’t have symptoms, but for those who do, it’s usually a mild illness with fever, rash and joint pain.
But the disease is especially dangerous to pregnant women because it can cause severe birth defects, including babies born with unusually small heads.
The CDC said pregnant women should seriously consider whether travel is necessary, especially if they’re going to a region where Zika has been found. And it says travellers should take precautions such as wearing insect repellent, long-sleeve shirts and long pants.
“Especially for those who are pregnant or who are looking to get pregnant soon, they need to get the advice of their doctor,” Claire Newell of Travel Best Bets said. “More often that not, they choose not to go to a Zika zone.”
– With files from The Associated Press