Surveillance of Zika virus

Learn how Zika virus is monitored.

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Has Zika virus been detected in Canada?

As of December 1, 2017, 544 travel-related cases and 4 sexually transmitted cases have been reported in Canada since cases started being detected in October 2015.  A total of 37 cases have been reported amongst pregnant women in Canada and 2 newborns with Zika-related anomalies have been reported.

Since pregnancy outcomes (including births, stillbirths, pregnancy loss and terminations) are not reported to public health authorities, pregnancy outcomes for Zika-infected women are not generally known. Surveillance activities are focused on detecting the number of cases of Congenital Zika Syndrome (those with observable Zika-related anomalies).

There is ongoing low risk to Canadians travelling to countries or areas in the U.S. with reported mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus.

Twenty-five case were reported for the period of September 1 – November 30, 2017, of these only 2 were confirmed as having an illness onset date in that time frame (others had an onset date prior to September 1, 2017, or no onset date was provided). All of these 25 cases were travel associated.

The data will be updated quarterly. The next update will be made in March 2018.

Zika cases detected in Canada, between June 2015 and December 1, 2017
Acquired through sexual transmission Travel-related
4 544

How does Canada monitor Zika virus?

The National Microbiology Laboratory is able to detect the virus and offers testing support to provinces and territories. Some provincial labs also conduct testing.

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

Planning is underway to enhance mosquito surveillance to detect an introduction of new mosquito species into Canada. This would include those species responsible for Zika virus transmission.

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.

The World Health Organization monitors Zika case reports from around the world. To date, a number of 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.

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