Surveillance of Zika virus

Learn how Zika virus is monitored.

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Has Zika virus been detected in Canada?

As of October 20, 2016, 344 travel-related cases, 2 sexually transmitted cases and 2 reports of maternal-to-fetal transmission have been detected in Canada. There's ongoing low risk to Canadians travelling to countries or areas in the U.S. with reported mosquito-borne Zika virus.

The data will be updated every 2 weeks on Thursdays. The next update will be made on Thursday, November 3, 2016.

Zika virus detected in Canada, as of October 20, 2016
Country Acquired through sexual transmission Maternal-to-fetal transmission Travel-related
Canada 2 2 344
Reports of pregnancies and maternal-to-fetal transmission
Number of pregnancies reported among Zika-infected women Maternal-to-fetal transmission
No Zika-related anomalies observed Zika-related anomalies observed
15 1 1

The number of reported Zika-related pregnancies may not reflect all pregnancies among Zika-positive women in Canada.

The data for maternal-to-fetal transmission outcomes include observations made during:

  • pregnancy
  • pregnancy losses
  • births 

Pregnancy losses include:

  • miscarriages
  • stillbirths
  • terminations

Zika-related congenital anomalies could present as:

  • neurological manifestations of varying degrees, ranging from mild to severe, and/or
  • a congenital syndrome associated with Zika virus infection, including, but not limited to, microcephaly

For privacy reasons, further information cannot be disclosed.

How many cases are there of Zika virus around the world?

The virus was first identified in humans in the 1950s. From 1951 through 1981, evidence of human Zika virus infection was reported from African countries and in parts of Asia.

In 2007, the first major outbreak of Zika virus occurred in Micronesia (Yap island) in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. This was the first time that Zika virus was detected outside of Africa and Asia.

Between 2013 and 2015, several significant outbreaks were noted on islands and archipelagos from the Pacific region. This included a large outbreak in French Polynesia.
In early 2015, Zika virus emerged in South America with widespread outbreaks reported in Brazil and Colombia.

To date, 6 countries, territories and areas have reported cases of microcephaly and/or central nervous system malformation potentially associated with Zika virus infection. Monitoring of pregnant women in other countries experiencing Zika virus outbreaks is ongoing

How does Canada monitor Zika virus?

The National Microbiology Laboratory is able to detect the virus and offers testing support to provinces and territories.

As part of their West Nile virus surveillance programs, several provinces and territories conduct mosquito surveillance activities.

In the future, consideration could be given to enhancing mosquito surveillance to detect an incursion of new mosquito species into Canada. This would include those species responsible for Zika virus transmission.

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