Update, April 8, 2016
As some members of the University community may be traveling to areas in which there is concern about possible exposure to the Zika virus, this message is intended to provide you with the latest advisories from Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors (MHHLS), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Zika virus infection is of concern because of increasing evidence that it is a cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome, birth defects (i.e. microcephaly), and other neurological disorders.
The University of Manitoba is closely monitoring advisories from Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors (MHHLS), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the Zika virus outbreak in countries of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. As members of our university community travel to these countries, this message is being provided to inform you of some potential risks associated with the Zika virus and steps you can take to reduce the risk.
At the current time, WHO, PHAC, and MHHLS advise that:
The Zika virus is transmitted by a mosquito bite from infected Aedes mosquitoes, which are distributed widely throughout the tropics and subtropics. They bite during the day and early evening.
About 80% of affected individuals are asymptomatic. Those who develop symptoms usually develop a mild, self- limiting disease, resolving within 7 days of symptom onset. Symptoms generally appear 3-14 days following a bite from an infected mosquito. Symptoms commonly include: acute onset of low grade fever (38.5C or lower), rash, joint pains, conjunctivitis. Less common symptoms have included muscle aches, weakness, lethargy and headaches.
There is a speculative association between the Zika virus and birth defects. There is evidence to suggest that pregnant women are either more susceptible or develop more severe presentations.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the Zika virus infection.
Prevention is key. Travelers to outbreak regions should use appropriate mosquito repellants, such as those containing DEET or Icaridin, wear protective clothing, and use bed nets. Every effort should be made to keep mosquitoes out of living areas by ensuring doors are closed, window screens are in good repair and using air conditioning.
Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors:
Public Health Agency of Canada:
Health Links 24-hour phone line at 204-788-8200 or toll-free 1-888-315-9257 or visit wrha.mb.ca/healthinfo/healthlinks with any questions or concerns.
University of Manitoba Health and Wellness Educator (Katie Kutryk, RN BN) for information at 204-295-9032 or visit umanitoba.ca/student/health-wellness
University Health Service, 105 University Centre, 204-474-8411. umanitoba.ca/student/health/uhs_appointments.html