Zika virus: What men need to know

Information for men travelling to or returning from a Zika-affected country or area

The Zika virus can:

  • be spread sexually to a woman who may then pass it to her unborn baby and can cause serious birth defects
  • remain in the semen of infected males for a prolonged period of time
  • be spread by an infected male with or without symptoms to his sexual partners

When travelling to a Zika-affected country or area, all men should:

  • talk to a health care professional to know the risks preferably 6 weeks before travelling
  • take measures to prevent mosquito bites during the day and night when travelling
  • use condoms correctly or avoid having sex with their partner when travelling
  • use condoms correctly or avoid having sex with their partner for 3 months after returning to Canada or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer); this includes the use of sex toys
  • wait 3 months after returning to Canada or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer), before donating semen

Men who have a pregnant partner should:

  • use condoms correctly or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, after travelling to a Zika-affected country or area

Men planning a pregnancy with their partner should:

  • delay trying for a pregnancy by using condoms correctly or avoid having sex for 3 months after returning to Canada or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer), to ensure the virus has cleared the body

Symptoms of Zika virus may include:

  • skin rash
  • red eyes
  • weakness
  • headaches
  • lack of energy
  • muscle or joint pain
  • possible joint swelling, mainly in the smaller joints of the hands and feet
  • low-grade fever (37.8 to 38.5°C)

Men who have or had symptoms of Zika virus should talk to a health care professional about testing options if they have:

  • travelled to a Zika-affected country or area recently, or
  • had unprotected sexual contact with a person who has recently travelled to a Zika-affected country or area

For more information visit: Canada.ca/zika-virus

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Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada

Type: Poster

Date published: 2019-01-14

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